The Haunting in Connecticut (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
Lions Gate || Unrated - 92 minutes - $39.99 || July 14, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-07-09


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Peter Cornwell
Writer(s): Adam Simon & Tim Metcalfe (written by)
Cast: Virginia Madsen, Kyle Gallner, Elias Koteas, Amanda Crew, Martin Donovan


Theatrical Release Date: March 27, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Feature Commentaries
  • 4 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Digital Copy
  • BD Live


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 7.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Plot: Based on a true story, The Haunting in Connecticut charts one family's real-life encounter with the dark forces of the supernatural. When the Campbell family moves to upstate Connecticut, they soon learn that their charming Victorian home has a disturbing history: not only was the house a transformed funeral parlor where inconceivable acts occurred, but the owner's clairvoyant son Jonah served as a demonic messenger, providing a gateway for spiritual entities to crossover. Now unspeakable terror awaits when Jonah, the boy who communicated with the dead, returns to unleash horror on the innocent and unsuspecting family.

Considering how many times I kept thinking of the similarities of The Amityville Horror (more on that later), I still found Haunting in Connecticut to be an enjoyable ride that, despite some flaws, still managed to keep my attention. The film itself was apparently adapted from a "true story", a tag many films like to use but typically only based upon a small portion of the "true story", while here just about everything that happened to the family is included.

The cast is pretty incredible here with Kyle Gallner (Matt) and Virginia Madsen (Sara; his mom) showing up throughout most of the film while the rest of the cast seems to take a backseat (shame since Amanda Crew certainly did a fine job with the limited material she was given) while the plot focuses more and more on Kyle's story and not so much the other part of the family. One small nitpick is they showed far too much story of the father (Martin Donovan) when the audience could care less about his drinking problem and wanted more ghost interactions.

Have you ever seen The Amityville Horror? Well, if so, you should know exactly what to expect with this film. Let's go down a small checklist of things in common.

1. Haunted House. Check
2. Based on a "true story". Check
3. Occupants start "seeing" things. Check
4. Preacher tries to set things "right" only be wrong. Check
5. House goes bye-bye. Check
6. The House and occupants being examined by the Ed and Lorraine Warren of the Amityville Horror fame (not in the film though). Check

Now, based upon the above let's discuss a few things. First, I enjoyed the novel and film of The Amityville Horror. While I am not so sure the events really happened (more or less they are extremely exaggerated) I do think that George and Kathy Lutz have a story and they sure as hell cashed in on it. Not only was the novel a big hit, but so was the film which spawned numerous direct to video sequels that made the studios and Lutz' a pretty penny. Ed and Lorraine Warren were a big reason why they succeeded, so it came as no surprise that Haunting in Connecticut; a film and story that seems all to familiar, also being a pretty big deal.

I'm going to end my comparison between Amityville and Haunting there and let you draw your own conclusions. I strongly advise the viewer to give the original Amityville Horror a rent (also on Blu-ray) and check out something that is far more logical than the events in this film (err... true story).



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The Blu-ray edition includes both the theatrical (Blu-ray Exclusive) and unrated version of the film.

There are two feature commentaries: The first is with Director Peter Cornwell, Co-writer Adam Simon, Producer Andrew Trapani and Editor Tom Elkins and the second with Cornwell and actors Virginia Madsen and Kyle Gallner

The Fear is Real: Re-Investigating the Haunting (45 Minutes) - Holy crap. Now this is what you need to watch. Split into two parts (not even sure why) this spends time with the real family which the film is based on. Not only are their stories creepy, but something happens about 15 minutes in the film that will send shivers down your spine. We also get quick interviews with neighbors who believe that their story was BS from the start as well as Lorraine Warren who sheds some insight into the whole "true" aspect of the story. This is very well produced and edited.

Memento Mori: The History of Post Mortem Photography (10 Minutes) - A fantastic featurette that discusses how people in the 19th and 20th century took pictures of their loved ones in coffins (at time of death) instead of when they were living.

Anatomy of a Haunting (10 Minutes) - A conversation with Barry Taff PhD and Psychic Jack Rourke.

Deleted Scenes (9 Minutes; SD) - Just about everything here was cut for time and besides getting the real reason for why Wendy is living with Campbell's all of this is just extra fluff. With optional director commentary.

Also included is the normal back-patting in The Making of The Haunting in Connecticut, Theatrical Trailer, Digital Copy and BD-Live.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Haunting in Connecticut is presented in 2.35:1 (MPEG4) on a 50GB Disc. Lionsgate continues to impressive me with a slick transfer that makes detail visible while still maintaining the gritty nature of the film. While there were a few times where the scenes became a bit too dark that's clearly the nature of the film. The Black and White moments look fantastic.

Lionsgate has included a 7.1 DTS MA Track for this release. Well hot damn, this sounds slick. Given the nature of the film your rears will be filled with creepy music all while the numerous 'cat jumps out of nowhere making a noise' moments will make you jump from your seat. Dialog is well situated as well.



.::OVERALL::.

A solid horror flick that brings real scares instead of the stupid slasher stuff we've had to suffer through the past few years. Lionsgate has provided solid picture and audio quality along with some fantastic features making this one a must own.