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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Megan Poe
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My name is Megan Poe and I’m an English (writing concentration) and Philosophy double major at Northern. My concurrent experience with being published in and interning for literary magazines has landed...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

‘Haunting’ reveals nothing but hot air

Film: A Haunting in Connecticut

Director: Peter Cornwell

Producers: Paul Brooks,

Andrew Trapani

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Writers: Tim Metcalfe,

Adam Simon

Starring: Virginia Madsen,

Kyle Gallner

Runtime: 92 minutes

Rating: PG-13

In today’s cinema-going experience, films touted as being based on a true story often aren’t. There’s no better example of this than the latest horror film “A Haunting in Connecticut.” Using cheap scare tactics and situations that are completely ridiculous and unfaithful to the actual story, “Haunting” proves it’s just another haunted house story trying to be more than what it is.

Sara Campbell’s (Madsen) life is not easy. Aside from having to take care of her family, she must also drive her son Matt (Gallner) to and from the hospital, which is several hours away, in order to treat his cancer. To make the trips easier for both her and Matt, Sara decides to move her family to a house only minutes from the hospital. While this seems like the best idea in order to care for her dying son, Matt soon begins seeing and hearing visions and is convinced the place is haunted. The family then contacts Reverend Popescu (Elias Koteas) to cleanse the house of its evil spirits.

The biggest shame about this film is the fact that Madsen read the script and said to herself, “Yes, that’s what I want to do next.” Her talent is not totally wasted in this film, but she does seem to be phoning in a lot of her performance. For watching her son be tormented by evil spirits, I don’t think she manages to shed real tears once. Gallner’s performance as the cancer-stricken, ghost-seeing teenager is decent and manages to do what it’s supposed to. Martin Donovan, playing the patriarch of the Campbell family, is actually a nice addition, even though his incredibly meager subplot regarding his alcoholism goes nowhere and only serves to show just how much Sara has to deal with.

The problem I have with haunted house films is that it’s hard to get scared by something for which there is no concrete evidence and the only explanation for events is the word of a family who’s obviously going through a difficult time, not to mention the fact that the treatment Matt was given, which is stated in both the movie and the Discovery channel documentary, may cause audio and visual hallucinations. The haunted house films that do actually scare are usually because of a main character’s madness rather than an actual haunting.

To director Peter Cornwell’s credit, he does manage to create an aura of unease around the house, but anything that might come across as truly terrifying is laughable and leaves you scratching your head.

What I never understand about these films is why they bring in a priest to exorcise the house only to sell it later. Either get rid of the ghosts and live in it or just sell it right away and let the next people deal with it.

“Haunting” truly is Hollywood at its worst, though. When comparing the documentary to the theatrical film one will see that the ending for the latter is completely made up and used to only heighten the terror the characters are feeling. While this is completely natural and expected of the filmmakers, the fact that they’re claiming this all happened is a cheap marketing plot for the people who will actually believe it. Apparently, and this is true for both versions, the cancer-stricken teenager was cured miraculously. So, if there’s a message to take away from this film, it’s that ghosts cure cancer.

“Haunting” tries desperately to create an effective haunted house story but the foundation is just not strong enough.

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