Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) gives two running times for The Haunting in Connecticut: 98 minutes and 102 minutes. Neither is accurate. The film runs two hours. Two hours too many.
Based on “the” true story, the movie says in its opening scene, a couple with a teenage boy dying of cancer move their children and a cousin into a house in Connecticut to be closer to the hospital treating him. The house--it turns out--is haunted.
That means shadowy figures disappearing in doorways mere seconds before the character looks up, creatures looming over the shoulders of this person or that in a dark hall, creaking and groaning sounds everywhere, and my least favorite horror movie trick: open the medicine cabinet door, nothing is in the mirror, close the door and there is--place your check mark here--the demon, monster, psychopathic killer.
The place used to be a funeral home where an evil psychic used a teenage medium to communicate with the dead. Bodies were kept in the basement and sand bags placed in the coffins and buried. The bodies, with eyelids cut off, remained in the house with Satanic writing all over them, to make it easier for the medium to do his thing.
In the case of “the” true story in Connecticut novice director Peter Cornwell add nothing to the genre. One of his writers is Tim Metcalfe whose claim to fame is creating The Revenge of the Nerds and then writing some of the TV scripts for the television shows to follow.
Worse--Cornwell drags a 10-minute plot out to an interminable two hours. Nothing happens for the entire first hour other than the effects described earlier. When you finally get a glimpse of the why of the haunting you don’t care and then are forced to endure another hour before the absolutely lame conclusion.
And truth be known--the “true” story of The Haunting in Connecticut is that it isn’t a true story.
Only the nerdiest of horror movie nerds is going to like Metcalfe’s script. It is high school play bad and makes a great actress like Virginia Madsen (Sideways) and the terrific character actor Elias Koteas looks like amateurs.
No doubt they did it for the payday.
The Haunting in Connecticut
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, some scary scenes. It opens Friday, March 27 at Regal’s Columbia Mall 8 and at the Fairchild 12.
Mr. Movie rating: 1/2 star
5 stars/4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen4 stars / 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie. 3 stars / 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video. 2 stars / 1 star: Don't bother.0 stars: Speaks for itself