The Haunting in Connecticut

  • Review Date: March 27, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2009

Common Sense Media says

Unoriginal, shoddy horror film is too gory for young kids.
  • Review Date: March 27, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2009

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

No strong/obvious positive messages. The question "Why do bad things hapen to good people?" is asked. Characters also talk about how "the Lord works in mysterious ways" and frankly discuss how alcohol and alcoholism affect a marriage and a family.

Positive role models

No strong/obvious positive role models. Characters (including a young teen) face cancer and are concerned about being able to afford medical treatment.

Violence

Plenty of violence and gore, with extensive depiction of blood, scars, cuts, wounds, and mass graves filled with emaciated, mutilated corpses. Ghosts take the form of mutilated corpses. Close-ups of medical instruments and procedures undertaken in the name of dark magic/sorcery/paranormal experimentation. Supernatural violence as restless spirits shove, push, and batter victims.

Sex

A woman is in the shower, but nothing sensitive is shown.

Language

Fairly mild, including "Jesus" as an expletive, "good Lord," "oh my God," and "hell."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink hard liquor. A recovering alcoholic starts drinking again, driving drunk and frightening his family; he later apologizes, atones, and tries to make amends.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a review of the movie shown in theaters and not the Unrated Special Edition, which is sure to have scarier, raw content. This "based on a true story" horror film, while milder than movies like Saw, is still too scary and disturbing for kids. It's full of mutilated bodies, bloody scenes, supernatural violence, and medical and autopsy imagery. There are also fairly serious discussions of the challenges facing a teen fighting cancer. One character is a recovering alcoholic who starts drinking again and ends up driving drunk. But the language doesn't get much stronger than "hell" and "oh my God," and sex and product placement aren't an issue.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT, the Campbell family purchases a home so that their son Matt (Kyle Gallner) can be closer to treatment for his cancer. The home, it turns out, used to be a funeral home -- and as the uneasy spirits who were tormented there rise up to haunt, bedevil, and assault the Campbells, Matt becomes the vessel for their supernatural rage. Can the love of Matt's mother (Virginia Madsen) and father (Martin Donovan) and the efforts of a cancer-patient priest (Elias Koteas) quiet the old funeral home's angry ghosts and save the family?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The Haunting in Connecticut is similar to other haunted house epics like The Amityville Horror; it's so similar, in fact, that you have to wonder what the point was in making it. Despite a cast of excellent actors, the movie is dreary and dull, relying on obvious jumps and jolts to scare us and culminating in an orgy of special-effects violence as poorly made as it is tedious.

If The Haunting in Connecticut were better made, it wouldn't feel so familiar; if the story didn't rip off The Amityville Horror, The Exorcist, The Ring, and dozens of other movies, perhaps the movie's tiredness wouldn't sting quite so much. Cliched, tedious, and full of cheap jumps in the absence of true horror and suspense, The Haunting in Connecticut is somehow jam-packed with dead bodies but completely devoid of any reason to care about the live characters.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of horror movies -- why do we like to watch things that scare us? 

  • Which is scarier: a movie with a ghostly villain or one with a

  • real-life bad guy? Why? 

  • How accurate do movies

  • have to be when they're "based on a true story"? Can filmmakers make

  • changes even when they're using that label? Is that OK? Why would they want to change things?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 27, 2009
DVD release date:July 14, 2009
Cast:Elias Koteas, Martin Donovan, Virginia Madsen
Director:Peter Cornwell
Studio:Lionsgate
Genre:Horror
Run time:92 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some intense sequences of terror and disturbing images

This review of The Haunting in Connecticut was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bynightmaric June 12, 2009
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Not really that disturbing

This movie isn't really that violent, not much blood but still. It was pretty good movie though.

Kid, 12 years old Written bynirvanachix May 30, 2009
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

AMAZINGG!!

it was really good i saw it wit my freinds (the age was lik 12-14 years old) REALLY GOOD!!!

Teen, 14 years old Written byPoison Ivey October 13, 2009
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

I kinda liked this movie. but I was prepared for anything because I've seen every episode of "A Haunting" on discovery, but if you havn't seen the show then I suggest you watch it, just so you can be ready for anything... well, supernatural. It's a little but scarier, though, so I'd suggest to parents to watch it with their kids and skip through the intense parts. I watched this with my mom and sisters, where as I'd normally watch the show alone. :)

What other families should know
Too much violence

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