The Haunting in Connecticut: A Laughably Hokey Hand-Wringer


There’s no rest for the dead—or the living—in this laughably hokey haunted-house hand-wringer based on yet another Amityville-style “true story” peddled by an enterprising family eager to turn a bum real estate deal into a pop-culture gold mine. The trouble begins when the Campbell clan—mom (Virginia Madsen, battling her own terrifying, post-Oscar-nom curse), dad (erstwhile Hal Hartley muse Martin Donovan), and cancer-stricken teenage son (paler-than-thou Robert Pattinson doppelgänger Kyle Gallner)—moves into one of those rickety fixer-uppers with “a bit of history” that looks like it hasn’t been redecorated since the last Depression, only to discover (spoiler alert!) that it’s a former funeral home, where, once upon a time, something very, very bad happened. From there, you can set your watch by the phantom apparitions, shock-edited sepia flashbacks, and eruptions of projectile ectoplasm, until a mysterious man of the cloth (Elias Koteas, sporting the House of Father Merrin’s spring line) shows up to invoke the power of the Almighty. In the realm of domestic horror, The Haunting in Connecticut is about as scary as a shower that suddenly changes temperature when someone flushes the toilet, but its stolid, unironic flat-footedness may prove an asset in a box-office climate where everything ’80s (Friday the 13th, My Bloody Valentine, Paul Blart: Mall Cop a/k/a Police Academy 10) is new again.