Director: Peter Cornwell
Rating: 4 / 5
This is perhaps the best possession/haunted house movie I've ever seen. It was supposedly based on a true story. I don't know how much of that I believe to be real, but regardless, the movie was good.
A woman with a cancerous teenage son, Matt, moves to Connecticut, in order to be closer to the hospital he must frequent for treatments. Almost immediately after they move in, Matt starts seeing strange things. They put if off as hallucinations due to side effects from the experimental treatment he is receiving. A couple of things he sees: bodies having strange letters and symbols cut into their skin, and having their eyelids removed; a seance; and sandbags being thrown into caskets. He puts it off as well, until he finds a box of photos underneath the floorboards in the attic. The young boy he has been seeing in his hallucinations was a real boy, and his name is Jonah.
After doing some research with his cousin, they find out what had happened in the house many, many years ago. The house was a funeral home, owned by a Mr. Aickman. The funeral home doubled as a place for communicating with the dead. People would come from all over the world to speak with their dead loved ones. Jonah was Mr. Aickman's medium.
Eventually Mr. Aickman found a way to "amplify" his seances, giving him the ability to make ectoplasms appear. Ectoplasm is some weird gooey junk that would spew from the orifices (mouth, nose, ears, and..ahem..others...) It seems Mr. Aickman was stealing bodies from the local cemetery (and replacing them with sandbags inside the coffins) to conduct these "experiments." It was believed that he cut off their eyelids so they would have to see, rather than be rested after death. But they learned later that he was removing them to make the spirits "unseen." One day, one of the seances went wrong, and all the members were killed - except Jonah.
They believe that Jonah's spirit is trapped in the house, and he is the one who is haunting them. They call upon a preacher that Matt had met at the hospital, and he helps them exorcise the demon, so to speak. He uses some kind of metallic crucifix to find where the spirit is trapped. He finds it in the dumbwaiter, and traces it back into the wall. He finds Jonah's ashes and takes them out of the house. Everyone goes about their regular business, believing the nightmare to be over. But when the preacher has a huge profound moment in his car, alongside Jonah's thought-to-be-rested spirit, he realizes that it is most definitely not over. He calls the house to explain to them, but no one answers.
It turns out that, when the others had been killed during the seance, Jonah fled. He tried to escape the house, but the spirits turned on him, and he became trapped inside a furnace: being burned alive. Since his eyelids had not been removed, it was deduced that he was not one of the evil spirits, and that the evils were still in the house. Jonah was actually protecting the house from them, trying to warn the occupants.
Matt ends up encountering Jonah's spirit in the hospital, where (SPOILER ALERT!) the spirit enters Matt's body. Matt is dead from the cancer. Jonah then returns to the house, removes the bodies from their hidey-holes, and burns the house down. This sets all the other, evil, spirits free. He then exits Matt's body, and paramedics try desperately to revive him.
In a bit of text before the end credits, we are informed that Matt's cancer disappeared and he recovered completely.
The Haunting in Connecticut was not exactly scary, no. There were a few OMG scenes (the typical: where we see spirits/apparitions in mirrors and/or shadows), but overall - not very scary. However, the story was amazing, and the execution was great. It was just a genuinely interesting story. And while I might not believe it, the fact that it was "based on true facts" is also interesting. Overall a very good movie, and a must-see for fans of the supernatural.
MORAL: Beware of funeral home directors. They'll fuck you up.