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"The Haunting in Connecticut" Movie Review: A True Story About A Haunted House Unseen Boy Spirit In Goatswood CT
The Haunting in Connecticut Movie Review
Almost 5 Stars!
**According to Directors, This Movie is Based on A True Story**
I Couldn't Wait For This Movie To Come Out!
There was a lot of hype and I got it the first day it was released on DVD.
I gave it 4 1/2 Stars (Yes,I am a tough critic!)
Basically, there is a teenage boy named Matt Campbell (Kyle Gallner) who has cancer. He qualified for an experimental study and the treatments are only available at one specific hospital, St. Michael's, which is very far away in Goatswood, CT. The long commute takes its toll on the family, so they decide to move closer to the hospital and find a great deal on an old house. They had no idea what they got themselves into!
Right from the start, Matthew begins to have visions. He chooses the room in the basement for his bedroom (which was furnished) and there is a double door that is locked and you can not see inside it. Matthew begins to "see" things; visions of dead children, among other things. He believes this phenomenon is a side effect from the experimental treatment. In fact, the doctor overseeing the project urges him to notify him of any visions or the like. Matthew, wanting to be freed from his burden of cancer, keeps it to himself.
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Is It A Real Story?
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There are many instances of "Phantom" shadows, glitches, visions, reflections in the TV and so forth. There's a bit of confusion when Matt investigates strange noises coming from upstairs. For some reason he goes down to the bottom basement, sees a monster, than wakes up in a cold sweat in his bed.
Matt continues to have progressively horrifying images (he sees blood when he is watching his mother mop the floor), plates move around, tattooed bodies, burning doorknob, maggot infestation inside the wall, and many other strange things. He is confused: is he having these visions because of the medical treatment, or these things a real haunting?
Matt increasingly begins to display odd behavior: the door that was permanently closed opens and Matt is found spinning his younger brother, Billy (Ty Wood), in a very mean, possessed manner. As they check out the room that was previously sealed, they begin to realize that all of the things around them:operating table, syringes, bottles of formaldehyde-this was an embalming parlor; the house was an old funeral parlor.
One scene in the movie which especially caught my attention was when the family sat down for dinner together (yes, people actually did that in the 1980s!). As they all joined hands to say a prayer of grace, Matt has a vision that he is at a séance. Matt befriends a priest, Rev. Popescu (Elias Koteas), who happens to be in the same cancer study, and the priest comes to check out the situation.
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There are many individual supernatural happenings that I am leaving out of this review. There's a lot of cool stuff that goes on. I should mention that the father, Peter Campbell (Martin Donovan), is "on the wagon" as he quit drinking because he was turning into a jerk. At one point in the movie, we see him jump off the wagon, and is quite a jerk when he does.
In a latter interesting point in the movie while the siblings are playing "Hide-and-Seek", Matt sees a ghost calling out for "Jonah" and brings him to the embalming room. Matt becomes locked in the room and there are dead corpses that appear and become alive (do they qualify as "Zombies"?). All of these corpses have coded tattoos all over their entire bodies.
Furniture is supernaturally moved around, Matt scratches the walls which makes his fingers bleed, the Priest comes around again, The Mother Sarah Campbell (Virginia Madsen), begins to pray the Rosary (Must be Catholic!), and we arrive at the climax of the movie.
Both parents fear losing Matt.
Matt finds an old box buried under the floor that contains funeral papers, death certificates, and pictures of long ago dead people (Ever see those similar pictures in The Awesome Movie, "The Others"?)
But the weirdest find of all is a box filled with people's eyelids.
"One bright day in the middle of the night, two dead boys got up to fight." This is heard several times throughout the movie and eventually, Matt recognizes his place in that rhyme. Matt and Mom go to the local Library to research the history of the building. What they find out is that the house was indeed a mortuary-The Ramsey Igmand (Sp?) Mortuary. A boy-medium-psychic named "Johna, was the assistant.
There's another séance scene and Matthew relates to Johna as "Ectoplasm" comes out from his mouth, a supposed odd occurrence during such ordeals. Graves are dug up, bodies are missing. Matt revisits his Minister friend and they reveal that the funeral director was a sick, twisted Necromancer (Roughly translated: "Lover of the Dead") who sought power to control the dead. He used their bodies to enhance Jonah's powers; an amplifier if you will.
Matt's mom goes through a moment of truth, a bit of denial of her faith, Dad comes home drunk and mean, voices are heard, lights flicker, phone rings, and the family finally reunites in the living room. Ironically, Mom gets over her mid-life Faith crisis, calls the pastor and invites him over to perform an exorcism. During the exorcism many things happen: birds keep appearing, doors go crazy...everything seems to be alright.
Matt wakes up with the strange writing on him, the pastor gets into a car accident when he realizes that there's a monster in his back seat, Matt goes to the hospital and he is given a vision in which everyone in the famed séance dies. Johna tried to escape, Johna hides in what I thought was a "Dumb Waiter", but really turned out to be the crematorium. We figure out that the eyelids were not cut off so that the dead to see, but rather to make them unseen . The ghosts tried to frame Johna, Matt is progressively becoming more sick, and they decide to stop the treatment and give him a few days to live.
Matt escapes the hospital and shows up at his house with an axe. He begins to destroy the walls, discovering the missing bodies of the dead, and He starts a great fire. Now I have just one question: why didn't the bodies smell ? Anyway, he starts the fire with formaldehyde (ironic) and is destined to free all the souls that were trapped in the walls.
Mom goes in to try to rescue Matt and as she does, she recites the 23 Psalm. Matt's death was inevitable due to his cancerous condition, and so he is somehow able to free the ailing souls from the house. Firemen save them and CPR is performed and Matt is revived as he sees the priest.
Somehow, Matt's cancer disappears and he makes a full recovery. The house was completely damaged by the fire and a new Aikman house was rebuilt and re-sold. There have been no reported manifestations following these events.