This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
"The Haunting in Connecticut" isn't based on just any old true story. No, it's based on "the true story." That would be the case of the Snedeker family, who in the 1970s moved into a ghost-infested house in Southington, Conn., and had no end of distress. We know their story is true because it was vouched for by Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal sleuths who also backed up Bill Ramsey, a demonic werewolf who bit people; "The Amityville Horror," and the story of Jack and Janet Smurl, who inspired "The Haunting."
Even so, I doubt it's "based on." More likely it was "loosely inspired by" a story. I don't believe a shred of this movie is true. Ray Garton, author of A Dark Place, a book including the case, observed that the Snedekers couldn't get their stories straight. When he reported this to the investigators, Wikipedia says, he was instructed to "make it up and make it scary."
But what does that matter if all you're looking for is a ghost story? "The Haunting in Connecticut" is a technically proficient horror movie and well acted. We have here no stock characters, but Virginia Madsen and Martin Donovan in a troubled marriage, Kyle Gallner as their dying son, and Elias Koteas as a grim priest. They make the family, now known as the Campbells, about as real as they can be under the circumstances. The film has an alarming score and creepy photography, and a house that doesn't look like it has been occupied since the original inhabitants ... died, let's say.
So all the elements are there, and one of my fellow critics said he "screamed like a girl three times," although he is rather known for doing so. There are two screamable elements: (1) Surprises and (2) Spectres.