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"THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT"
(2009) (Virginia Madsen, Kyle Gallner) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Heavy *Extreme None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Extreme Extreme None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild None Extreme Heavy Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Horror: Already dealing with a son battling cancer, a family must contend with supernatural encounters when they move into a home that was once a mortuary.
PLOT:
It's June 1987 and things are tough for the Campbell family. With mom Sara (VIRGINIA MADSEN) spending many hours on the road driving teenage son Matt (KYLE GALLNER) to and from the clinic for cancer treatment, dad Peter (MARTIN DONOVAN) is unhappy about all of that time on the road. Accordingly, and despite facing financial difficulties, they realize they must find a place closer to the clinic, and Sara quickly settles on a vacant house during one of Matt's painful post treatment bouts.

It's certainly big enough for them, as well as Matt's younger siblings, Mary (SOPHI KNIGHT) and Billy (TY WOOD), and older cousin, Wendy (AMANDA CREW). Wanting some privacy, Matt chooses the basement for his bedroom, with a sealed door and frosted windows into another section adding to the allure of the space.

Little do they initially know, however, that the house was originally a funeral home where the now inaccessible room was used long ago by mortician Ramsey Aickman (JOHN BLUETHNER) and his young assistant, Jonah (ERIK BERG). It's not long before Matt starts having visions of an encounters with the latter's ghost, and while Sara is concerned by such visions, she initially writes them off as side effects of his treatment. Fellow cancer patient Reverend Nicolas Popescu (ELIAS KOTEAS), however, has another opinion as he believes those close to death can experience those who've already died.

As the supernatural occurrences increase in frequency for Matt and are then experienced by the others, the family tries to figure out what's occurring and how to deal with that.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into supernaturally-based horror films and/or are fans of anyone in the cast, they might be interested.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some intense sequences of terror and disturbing images.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • VIRGINIA MADSEN plays a mother who's worried about her son's health and thus moves the family to a home closer to the clinic treating him. She must then not only contend with his illness, but also what initially appear to be treatment related hallucinations that turn out to be supernatural occurrences, as well as her husband's attitude and return to drinking.
  • KYLE GALLNER plays her teenage son who's battling cancer. He initially thinks he's losing his mind based on what appear to be troubling hallucinations, but then realizes he's being haunted by spirits in the house that occasionally seem to briefly possess him.
  • ELIAS KOTEAS plays a reverend and fellow cancer patient who befriends Matt and then tries to help him and the family out of their situation.
  • MARTIN DONOVAN plays Matt's father who has various issues, including the return of his drinking problem that exacerbates his negative reaction to Sara moving the family closer to the clinic.
  • AMANDA CREW plays Matt's cousin who lives with the family and tries to help him.
  • SOPHI KNIGHT and TY WOOD play Matt's younger siblings who are frightened by what occurs in the house.
  • ERIK BERG plays the teen from the past who served as a mortuary assistant as well as the reluctant medium forced to work in various sťances.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this horror film that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 minor expletive, while a handful of religious and colorful phrases are also uttered. A young woman is briefly seen in the shower (nothing explicit, although the camera does start going up her bare leg, but then stops), while a male teen is twice seen shirtless.

    Violence includes disfigurement of corpses, some grabbing and pushing of others, some property damage, and supernatural forces attacking a young woman in the shower, while the burned corpse aftermath of a sťance that's gone wrong is seen and a teen is burned alive (partially seen). Various haunted house and other supernatural type material, as well as moments of potential peril might be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to viewers, while potentially disturbing visuals include various views of a charred ghost corpse and others that have had letters cut into them and their eyelids cut out.

    There's a little drinking and two scenes of drunkenness (with implications of the father falling off the wagon as a recovering alcoholic), and that exacerbates tension in a marriage that's already strained by the couple's son having cancer and going through treatment. Various bad attitudes are also present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, several scenes feature that, including a near strobe effect in one.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some camera movement from time to time, including some bouncy point of view footage, as well as a spin-around shot featuring Billy's point of view as Matt spins him around on a table.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Sara mentions to Peter about the past when he was both a drunk and a liar.
  • Peter drives up to a bar and we see the reflection of one or more people inside drinking, but he has second thoughts and drives off.
  • We see a bottle of vodka by Peter, and he then smashes his guitar into an amp and thrashes something else (presumably while under the influence).
  • Peter returns home, drunk and angry that the family is sleeping at night with the lights on (for fear of what's been occurring). He yells and bangs around, followed by removing the light bulbs and throwing them into a sink. Sara then confronts him outside, telling him if he gets drunk again, he's not to return.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Due to early projector problems at our screening (where only the center third of the picture could be seen), the following entry should be considered a minimum: We see brief images of mortuary business, with blood and/or other fluids passing from dead bodies through tubes, etc., while old photos of dead people are also seen.
  • Matt states he's going to be sick in the car after his cancer treatment, so Sara pulls over and he vomits once out of the car. There's later talk by Sara to Peter about Matt vomiting all of the way home, and he later states he wants his bedroom in the basement of the new home so that the others don't hear him vomiting.
  • We see a close-up view of a needle being inserted into skin.
  • Matt freaks out when he see his mom spreading blood all over the floor with a mop, but after several views of that, he then sees it as normal, sans any blood.
  • We hear noises in the house at night, and then partially see figures behind the smoked glass in the basement back room. We then see that it's Ramsey and Jonah working on a dead body, with the former carving letters into the dead skin (with bloody results), followed by lifting one eyelid (we see the dead-looking eye) and then taking cutters to snip that off (Matt then wakes up from his nightmare).
  • When Matt grabs the doorknob into the basement back room, he burns his hand on that, leaving bad blisters.
  • Matt's hand goes into a mushy exterior wall, with him pulling out what looks like rotted meat and maggots. This turns out to be another vision.
  • Mary refers to someone as a "poop head."
  • The camera follows Matt left and then right as he does sit-ups, and when he comes back up again, we suddenly see a burned figure there, as well as a flash image of a fire.
  • Sara finds chairs and other furniture stacked in a tall pile in the kitchen, along with Matt seated in the corner, looking quite distraught, with bloody hands from digging deep scratches in the walls with his nails.
  • We see a tin that contains dried out, severed eye lids from long ago.
  • We see old sťance photos where ectoplasm is seen coming from various people's head orifices (it looks like distorted, supernatural ribbons or wafts of smoke/gas), and there's talk that it also came from lower body orifices (not seen).
  • We briefly see a flashback to some blood flow.
  • Matt channels seeing a flashback of Jonah involved in a sťance where lots of that ectoplasmic material flows out of his mouth.
  • Wendy suddenly sees the legs of a burned figure standing by her.
  • We see the burned figure looking in through a window to the outside.
  • We see that letters have been carved all over Matt's body, with bloody results.
  • Reverend Popescu spots the charred ghost corpse in the backseat of his car.
  • We see a flashback to the aftermath of everyone but Jonah being charred to varying degrees from a bad sťance experience and encounter with explosive ectoplasm.
  • Wendy bites into an apple and then reacts in disgust as we see it's quite rotten inside. She then opens the fridge and is shocked to see everything now covered in excessive mold inside there and on top of the fridge.
  • Matt cuts open various walls, revealing long-hidden and now mostly mummified corpses stacked inside there. As the walls are torn out, the corpses fall to the floor.
  • We see several more views of the charred corpse ghost.
  • At the end, we see water (from putting out a fire) running into a storm drain, with part of a human skull moving along with that water.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The bad spirits obviously have bad attitudes.
  • Peter isn't exactly supportive of Sara's decisions regarding Matt and his treatment.
  • We hear that Ramsey conducted sťances and disfigured corpses (carving letters into the skin, cutting off eyelids, etc.) for supernatural means. He also forced Jonah to act as his medium, and replaced those stolen corpses with sandbags to fool others when the caskets were moved.
  • Peter returns home, drunk and angry that the family is sleeping at night with the lights on (for fear of what's been occurring). He yells and bangs around, followed by removing the light bulbs and throwing them into a sink. Sara then confronts him outside, telling him if he gets drunk again, he's not to return.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary, especially to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Due to early projector problems at our screening (where only the center third of the picture could be seen), the following should be considered a minimum.
  • Matt is in bad pain from his radiation treatment.
  • Matt hears sounds at night in the house, and slowly goes to investigate. He ends up in the basement, heads over to the frosted windows and tries to peer inside, when a ghastly face/head suddenly appears (and he then wakes up from his nightmare).
  • Sara finds old photos of dead people and throws them out.
  • Matt hears voices in the house, and then notes that the plates he just put on the table are now back on the shelf. Just then, they crash to the floor and break.
  • We hear noises in the house at night, and then partially see figures behind the smoked glass in the basement back room. We then see that it's Ramsey and Jonah working on a dead body, with the former carving letters into the dead skin (with bloody results), followed by lifting one eyelid (we see the dead-looking eye) and then taking cutters to snip that off (Matt then wakes up from his nightmare).
  • At night, the previously sealed door into the basement back room slowly opens, and Matt slowly walks in there, but we don't see what happens next.
  • Seemingly possessed, Matt has young Billy (who's just held an old eyelid cutter to his own eye, unaware of its purpose) lie on a metal mortuary table and then proceeds to spin the boy around and around in a fast motion. While doing that, he has visions of the past and Jonah in that room.
  • While holding hands with others, Matt channels visions of Jonah doing the same during a sťance in the past.
  • Matt sees crabs scurrying along the floor and on his clothed body, followed by a needle going into his arm that wakes him from this vision/nightmare.
  • As the lights flicker in the house, we see a hand (dead, with carved letters in it) behind young Mary, indicating a figure is behind her, but nothing else happens.
  • Jonah suddenly walks past Matt, startling him. Matt then follows him downstairs where he sees Ramsey grab the boy by his hair and yank him away. Matt then goes down into the mortuary room where he sees covered dead bodies, and the door suddenly closes behind him. He then sees that the dead bodies are no longer covered, and then that they're standing and surrounding him. He shoves one, but that turns out to be Billy in reality.
  • Sara finds chairs and other furniture stacked in a tall pile in the kitchen, along with Matt seated in the corner, looking quite distraught, with bloody hands from digging deep scratches in the walls with his nails.
  • We see a shadow of a figure near Matt and it then bends down toward him.
  • Young Mary and Billy again play hide 'n seek. Billy opts to hide in an old dumb waiter where we then see a figure in the shadows behind him. He then does as well and panics, as he can't get out, with Wendy having to race there and rescue him (but nothing else is in the dumb waiter). Wendy then hears Mary screaming, as she's gone into the attic, heard a noise, walked over to investigate, and then had her foot break through an old floorboard, thus trapping her there.
  • Matt finds an old box and papers hidden beneath the floor, and some creepy-crawly bugs are on those papers.
  • We see more old photos of dead people, as well as a tin that contains dried out, severed eye lids from long ago.
  • We see old sťance photos where ectoplasm is seen coming from various people's head orifices (it looks like distorted, supernatural ribbons or wafts of smoke/gas).
  • Matt channels seeing a flashback of Jonah involved in a sťance where lots of that ectoplasmic material flows out of his mouth.
  • We hear what sound like many birds in Wendy's room as she sleeps. When she awakens, there's movement from under the sheet that's touching the floor. She slowly reaches for that, only to suddenly see the legs of a burned figure standing there.
  • Sara is awakened at night from the sound of footsteps. She turns on one light that reveals a figure right there in front of her.
  • There are sounds in the house at night, followed by flashes of electricity jumping from light fixtures where the bulbs were previously removed (causing a partial strobe effect).
  • The doors of the dumb waiter suddenly open as Reverend Popescu walks through the house, searching for the trapped spirit. Those doors then open and close repeatedly, and other regular doors in the house do the same as Reverend Popescu reaches into a crematorium and starts removing ashes and bone fragments. As he struggles to collect them and get outside, we see the burned figure slowly but progressively getting closer to Sara and Peter in the partial dark of the basement.
  • We see the burned figure looking in through a window from the outside.
  • Reverend Popescu spots the charred ghost corpse in the backseat of his car and nearly crashes, swerving to avoid another vehicle and then going off the road.
  • We see a flashback to the aftermath of everyone but Jonah being charred to varying degrees from a bad sťance experience and encounter with explosive ectoplasm. Jonah then runs and tries to elude the spirits in the house, but can't get out as doors close, etc. The walls then turn blackish and he hides in the dumb waiter, only to end up trapped in the crematorium where the flames grow, burning him alive (with him screaming, etc.).
  • Reverend Popescu realizes (seemingly too late) that he removed the wrong spirit from the house, and now that it's gone, the other, more dangerous ones have free run of the place. As he indicates that via a phone message, we see Wendy in the shower where the curtain suddenly envelopes her. She struggles as it gets tighter and it appears as if she's going to suffocate, but she manages to free her head and then body from that.
  • Wendy sees a deranged looking Matt approach with an ax, and she hurriedly tries to lock the door, but the ax blade suddenly breaks through the middle of that. She then thinks he's coming after her, but he passes by and proceeds to use the ax on various walls, cutting them open. That reveals various corpses stacked in the walls, and Matt then barricades part of the room, pours formaldehyde on the corpses and elsewhere, and then ignites all of that. Some of the corpses are then seen surrounding Matt, and they reach out their hands toward him.
  • Sara and Peter worry as they know Matt is in their house that's now on fire. Sara manages to get inside and holds her son amidst the flames, and he appears to die in her arms. Firefights then get to and remove both of them, with several trying to resuscitate him. We then see a view of Matt standing in a cemetery, but he's then back in his body and comes to.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Used to drive you nuts," "When the hell did you know it?" "Poop-head" and "Shut up."
  • The film's various scares might entice some kids to try the same to spook or startle others.
  • Seemingly possessed, Matt has young Billy lie on a metal mortuary table and then proceeds to spin the boy around and around in a fast motion.
  • We see that letters have been carved all over Matt's body, with bloody results.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Many of the jumps scenes listed below are accompanied and thus exacerbated by sudden music on the soundtrack.
  • When Matt turns off the TV, we see the reflection of a figure on the glass, behind him in the doorway.
  • Matt hears sounds at night in the house, and slowly goes to investigate. He ends up in the basement, heads over to the frosted windows and tries to peer inside, when a ghastly face/head suddenly appears (and he then wakes up from his nightmare).
  • There's sudden and loud knocking on the door.
  • A door swings open and the mirror on it suddenly shows a figure in the reflection.
  • Some plates suddenly shatter on the floor.
  • As the lights flicker in the house, we see a hand (dead, with carved letters in it) behind young Mary, indicating a figure is behind her, but nothing else happens.
  • Sara turns and Matt is suddenly there.
  • Jonah suddenly walks past Matt, startling him.
  • The mortuary door suddenly slams shut behind Matt.
  • The camera follows Matt left and then right as he does sit-ups, and when he comes back up again, we suddenly see a burned figure there, as well as a flash image of a fire.
  • We suddenly see Mary through the crack of an open door, and then again suddenly at a dumb waiter.
  • We hear what sound like many birds in Wendy's room as she sleeps. When she awakens, there's movement from under the sheet that's touching the floor. She slowly reaches for that, only to suddenly see the legs of a burned figure standing there.
  • Sara is awakened at night from the sound of footsteps. She turns on one light that reveals a figure right there in front of her.
  • The doors of the dumb waiter suddenly open.
  • Reverend Popescu spots the charred ghost corpse in the backseat of his car.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous, suspenseful and traditionally scary music is heard in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 hell, 3 uses of "Oh my God," 2 each of "God" and "Jesus," and 1 use each of "Good Lord" and "Oh for God's sakes."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see Matt shirtless while he does sit-ups.
  • Wendy showers, and we see a head and shoulders view and then that of the camera going up her bare leg, but stopping before anything explicit is shown. After the shower curtain attacks her, she frees herself and is behind the tub, thus blocking a view of her nudity (we see bare shoulders over the top).
  • We see Matt shirtless.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • There's tension between Sara and Peter over her many hours and miles spent driving Matt to and from treatment. She then tells her husband that nobody plans on having a child with cancer, something that Matt overhears.
  • Sara worries about Matt and his reaction to the cancer treatment he's receiving.
  • Sara's impromptu choice of the house to live in (the sudden choice is due to Matt being in so much pain from his treatment) doesn't sit well with Peter, thus causing additional strain on them.
  • Sara mentions to Peter about the past when he was both a drunk and a liar.
  • Reverend Popescu talks of the day his wife died and that she appeared to see others in the room with them when they were alone.
  • In a not particularly nice way, Peter informs Sara that he sold his truck in order to pay off their bills. We then see Sara alone, crying.
  • Peter returns home, drunk and angry that the family is sleeping at night with the lights on (for fear of what's been occurring). He yells and bangs around, followed by removing the light bulbs and throwing them into a sink. Sara then confronts him outside, telling him if he gets drunk again, he's not to return.
  • Wendy and Peter receive news that Matt's cancer treatment hasn't worked, and that he might die that night.
  • Sara and Peter worry as they know Matt is in their house that's now on fire. Sara manages to get inside and holds her son amidst the flames, and he appears to die in her arms. Firefights then get to and remove both of them, with several trying to resuscitate him. We then see a view of Matt standing in a cemetery, but he's then back in his body and comes to.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Having cancer and going through treatment for that.
  • Ghosts, spirits, sťances and such.
  • Mortuaries.
  • When Peter reminds Matt that the latter used to like looking at the stars, the teen says they (the stars) are already dead and just haven't gotten the news yet.
  • We hear that Ramsey conducted sťances and disfigured corpses (carving letters into the skin, cutting off eyelids, etc.) for supernatural means.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We hear noises in the house at night, and then partially see figures behind the smoked glass in the basement back room. We then see that it's Ramsey and Jonah working on a dead body, with the former carving letters into the dead skin (with bloody results), followed by lifting one eyelid (we see the dead-looking eye) and then taking cutters to snip that off (Matt then wakes up from his nightmare).
  • When Matt grabs the doorknob into the basement back room, he burns his hand on that, leaving bad blisters.
  • Jonah suddenly walks past Matt, startling him. Matt then follows him downstairs where he sees Ramsey grab the boy by his hair and yank him away.
  • Matt shoves a ghost corpse away, but that turns out to be Billy in reality.
  • We see a bottle of vodka by Peter, and he then smashes his guitar into an amp and thrashes something else (presumably while under the influence).
  • We see a flashback to the aftermath of everyone but Jonah being charred to varying degrees from a bad sťance experience and encounter with explosive ectoplasm. Jonah then runs and tries to elude the spirits in the house, but can't get out as doors close, etc. The walls then turn blackish and he hides in the dumb waiter, only to end up trapped in the crematorium where the flames grow, burning him alive (with him screaming, etc.).
  • Reverend Popescu realizes (seemingly too late) that he removed the wrong spirit from the house, and now that it's gone, the other, more dangerous ones have free run of the place. As he indicates that via a phone message, we see Wendy in the shower where the curtain suddenly envelopes her. She struggles as it gets tighter and it appears as if she's going to suffocate, but she manages to free her head and then body from that.
  • Matt uses an ax to smash/cut open various walls, revealing long-hidden and now mostly mummified corpses stacked inside there. As the wall is torn out, the corpses fall to the floor. He then barricades part of the room, pours formaldehyde on the corpses and elsewhere, and then ignites all of that.



  • Reviewed March 25, 2009 / Posted March 27, 2009

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