Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The Haunting in Connecticut

Dir: Peter Cornwell
Cast: Virginia Madsen, Kyle Gallner, Amanda Crew, Elias Koteas, Erik J. Berg, Martin Donovan
USA, 2009

Seen: March 30, 2009 at Scotiabank

Reason to see: Horror film! Poster and preview looked freaking scary so I was hooked.

I was really looking forward to The Haunting in Connecticut. Truth is, I've made it out to almost every horror film released in 2009 and it's been a voluminous but not great group of films. I really thought this pattern would be broken with this based on true events/supernatural/haunted house story. Comparatively it shines brighter than other horror films of the year, but not by too much.

At this point I must point out that the screening I went to, the image quality of the film was completely inconsistent. For example, if two people were talking face to face, they would show one person spot on and image looked great. Then, it would switch to the other person and it was grainy image and the darks areas were no where near black. This would happen with interiors and exterior shots, so I can't imagine it was an intentional effect. Every time it happened it was jarring and confusing, and that did effect my impression of the film. Horror films and so reliant on tone, that when this happened it took me right out of the flow.

But, even putting the technical issues aside, the film did not meet expectations. Sure, there were scares and I even at one point had to cover my eyes but all in all there were too many obvious scares and convenient explanations to push the plot forward. I find this to be a real shame because it is an awesome story, has the whole based on true events for the extra creepy factor and very capable cast. Unfortunately the majority of the scares are either jump out moments or lose the surprize effect due to non subtle foreshadowing and creepy but revealing poster & trailer. Why oh why we keep seeing such pivotal content in advertising I just don't understand.

The big plus to the film was the strong performance by Kyle Gallner, whom I continue to be impressed with. I last saw him in Red at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival in 2008 and he has yet again delivered believable, varied performance in a challenging role.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it/loved it/didn't love it
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it for horror completists

17 minutes of preshow including 6 commercials and 5 previews: Pandorum, Drag Me to Hell, Orphan, Battle for Terra and Crank 2: High Voltage

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© Shannon Ridler, 2009


Trista DeVries said...

I'm really sad to hear this, since it looked like it had so much promise. I'm also very sad to hear that so much of it was given up in the trailer/poster. That's really, really to bad. It is possible to cut together a creepy trailer without all the flash, dazzle and big scares, just look at the trailer for The Descent.

As for Kyle Gallner, I like him a good deal too. I think he has a lot of potential. I'm sad that movie wasn't great, but I hope it puts *him* on the map at least. I'd like to see more of his work.

Suzie Ridler said...

Bummer! Too bad it ended up being crappy in many ways. Horror films can be forgiven a lot of the time for cheesiness but when you also throw in technical difficulties...!!! This one's a rental I think.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

It did have a lot of promise and it was sure a lot better than some of the other horror we've seen so far this year.

The tech issue could really have been isolated to the screening/theatre I was at - which made my experience of the film lesser than it should have been.

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