Haunting in Connecticut was certainly not a movie I was ready to spend money on when it was in theatres. It looked o.k, but it didn't look "yea i'll throw 10 dollars away on that" o.k. So I waited for the blu-ray release where it still technically didn't get my money since I used a free rental on it. In the end it all worked out because to be honest Haunting in Connecticut, you're just not worth my money.
HIC (which is what I'm calling it from now on because Connecticut takes too long/too many attempts to spell) is your standard run-of-the-mill haunted house story, although the big selling point here is that this is all based on actual events. I watched the blu-ray documentary which details the true story and for the most part the movie actually stayed true to it. The documentary makes things a little creepier since people apparently really went through all of this. Although there was no mention in the documentary about crappy CGI effects, so I think they made that up just for the movie.
The story itself is pretty interesting, although I found they threw in all the important stuff right at the end, which I guess is common in many horror movies actually. It focuses on a teenager who is dying of cancer and his family rents a house in Connecticut so he can be close to the hospital where he is receiving treatment. Since the movie is not called Cancer in Connecticut, we all know what comes next.
The story is one of the stronger aspects of the film. I was never bored by it and it never got as silly as you keep expecting it to. At points I was genuinely interested in what was going to happen. What ruins this movie is the fact that it is essentially 90-odd minutes of loud noises in place of genuine scares.
The jump scare is a curious beast. If done well it can be very effective and terrifying. If done poorly, as it usually is, it causes teenagers to jump and then spend 2 minutes laughing about how they jumped. I feel the best jump scare is one that doesn't rely on the cheap "BWEEEE" sound effect that goes along with it. There can be a loud noise sure, but it should come from within the movie environment. For example, there's a great jump scare in the Dark Knight (spoilers for the 2 people who haven't seen it, also what the hell is wrong with you?!) where a dead body comes thudding against a window. It's sudden, the only sound is the window being hit, and it works damn well. That right there is perfect jump scare execution.
HIC does not employ the perfect execution. They show you something freaky and then play a loud sound effect to make sure you know it's supposed to be scary. I would love to re-edit this movie and takes those sounds out because I think the movie would be effectively creepy without them. As it stands right now it's just obnoxious. Yes I saw the ghost in the mirror, did you really need to play that screeching sound to make sure I saw it?It's irritating and I really wish the movie had done away with them. I think it would have benefited greatly by letting the imagery speak for itself.
I also found the editing to be an issue with this movie, and you know it must be bad because I never notice something like the editing. Many moments felt like they cut away very abruptly. A character would sometimes be mid-sentence and suddenly you would be whisked away to another scene with no rhyme or reason behind it. It's a little jarring, but at least this movie doesn't fall victim to that quick MTV editing that has raped the industry as of late.
Pretty much everything else about the movie is just fine: the acting, the direction, etc. That's the big problem however - what works is merely o.k, and what doesn't work really takes away from the movie. It's not a bad movie, and it's certainly better than most PG-13 horror (*kicks Prom Night Remake in the face*) but it's tough to give this one a recommendation. If you can, be like me and watch it for free.