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Sticks & Stones - The Pierces

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Haunting in Connecticut

The Haunting in Connecticut

Released 2009
Image from IMDB

According to the documentary with the film, this movie is based on factual events in the lives of the Snedecker family, notably the son Matt. While the real family has 4 of their own children plus the mother's sister and her two girls staying with them, the movie family only portrayed 4 total kids and two adults. Nor does it cover the fact that other people came to visit without incident and were completely safe.

I'm not necessarily judging the truth of the movie here, but I'm just pointing out that the story has been exaggerated and adjusted on screen by Hollywood, so don't take the whole movie and every event as fact. The facts don't match up with the movie at all, at least in my opinion anyway.

The movie's story begins with a very sick teen, a boy (Kyle Gallner), Matt, suffering from cancer. The drive from the family's current house to the hospital was too long, so the parents decide to rent a place closer.

The mother (Virginia Madsen), Sara, and Matt look around at different houses. They find what they think is the perfect house, but it has a past, one they aren't completely familiar with at first, so they are reluctant to rent. In fact, they weren't going to rent the place, but the son was in so much pain from his recent treatment, that the mother makes an "executive decision" and rents the place anyway, much to the father's dismay.

When cleaning out the house and making it livable for everyone, Sara discovers very creepy death photos that were taken in the house in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Spooked by this discovery, Sara tosses the photos. Soon after they move in though, Matt - undergoing treatment for his cancer, so is pumped up on who knows what - experiences strange "visions" and "waking dreams" that are both disturbing and scary.

As the story plays out, it's revealed that the house was once a mortuary. Yes, a funeral home, complete with a blood pit and dumbwaiter for dead bodies. Yes, that in its own right is creepy.

But it gets creepier.

When the four kids are playing hide-and-seek, they discover some more old stuff. Stuff they don't understand, but are spooked. Now, because Matt has been having hallucinations that he hasn't told anyone about, he decides to contact someone undergoing cancer treatment too, a priest, to help him identify what the items are and what they mean. While it is revealed through brief flashes, it's still creepy to discover that one of the tins contains dozens of pair of human eyelids. Eeeew!

He explains that this was a necromancy practice to control the spirits.

Okay, now we have the makings of a decent scary movie, true or not.

In truth, it didn't matter whether or not this was based on fact because the writing and the acting was pretty good. Virginia Madsen never disappoints and Elias Koteas and Martin Donovan played their roles so well that you couldn't help but get drawn in to the story.

While not everyone agrees that this is a great "scary" movie or an instiller of fear, it is downright creepy and will make you wonder the next time you step into a funeral home. Besides, because this movie was based on facts, they couldn't go too over-the-top anyway. If you want over-the-top, watch Poltergeist again. It just depends upon what you're wanting from your movie when you watch it. If it's terror and gore, watch Saw or Wrong Turn.

I consider this movie to be great because it does a decent job of blending real life with the paranormal and making the untrue feel true, at least for the duration of the film.

Would I watch it again?

Yes, but maybe not for another year or two.

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