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The Haunting in Connecticut - a main character an Easter Orthodox priest?

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  • Rev. Fr. John-Brian Paprock
    EXCERPT: Matt eventually turns for help to clergyman and fellow cancer patient Rev. Popescu (Elias Koteas) who, like Matt, can see ghosts and has spent years
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 27, 2009
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      EXCERPT:
      "Matt eventually turns for help to clergyman and fellow cancer patient Rev. Popescu (Elias Koteas) who, like Matt, can see ghosts and has spent years becoming versed in the occult.

      "Screenwriters Adam Simon and Tim Metcalfe are reticent concerning Rev. Popescu's religious affiliation. But he would seem to be an Eastern Orthodox priest."

      Media
      The Haunting in Connecticut

      http://www.thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?ID=10195

      By John Mulderig
      Posted: 3/27/2009

      NEW YORK (CNS) -- Those struggling to keep up with their mortgages may find some small solace in the far more extreme real estate nightmare one family endures in "The Haunting in Connecticut" (Lionsgate/Gold Circle), a reasonably effective, allegedly fact-based chiller.

      The real star of this "Amityville Horror"-like tale, set in a rural area of the Nutmeg State in 1987, is the creaky Victorian ex-funeral home that provides not only its setting but its premise.

      To this long-shunned structure come Sara (Virginia Madsen) and Peter Campbell (Martin Donovan). The Campbells are in the market for a cheap rental near the hospital where son Matt (Kyle Gallner) is receiving experimental treatments for cancer.

      Though told the rent is low because the roomy old pile has "a history," Sara impulsively decides to take it during a late-night drive home during which Matt writhes in constant pain. Sara's failure to consult with her intermittently alcoholic husband before making this decision is symptomatic of their strained marriage.

      As the Campbells' numerous household -- which includes Matt's younger brother, Billy (Ty Wood), and cousin, Wendy (Amanda Crew), as well as Wendy's kid sister, Mary (Sophi Knight) -- settle in, mysterious rooms are discovered, shadowy figures appear in the background and pretty soon no one's getting a good night's sleep.

      Matt eventually turns for help to clergyman and fellow cancer patient Rev. Popescu (Elias Koteas) who, like Matt, can see ghosts and has spent years becoming versed in the occult.

      Screenwriters Adam Simon and Tim Metcalfe are reticent concerning Rev. Popescu's religious affiliation. But he would seem to be an Eastern Orthodox priest.

      At any rate, he's the hero of the piece, proffering Matt spiritual comfort as well as supernatural savvy, and Koteas embodies him with low-keyed intensity. His performance, along with the convincing bond between mother and son -- deeply committed, yet subtly burdened by Matt's illness -- give more human interest than is usual in the genre.

      Overall, director Peter Cornwell's old-fashioned spook story is understated and, though at times unsettling, largely free of bloodletting.

      The script's efforts to place its supernatural goings-on within a larger spiritual and religious context will perhaps draw mixed reactions. But the Campbells are an identifiably Catholic family -- Sara keeps rosary beads handy and spontaneously prays for Matt to be spared suffering, while the clan's routine includes saying grace -- and a climactic recitation of the 23rd Psalm is a passionate expression of faith.

      The dangers of necromancy -- as implicitly condemned by the biblical story of King Saul and the Witch of Endor -- are forcefully conveyed both via Rev. Popescu and through some harrowing flashbacks to the specter-ridden house's earlier history.

      The film contains disturbing images, including charred and gory corpses, and a couple of profanities. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.



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      Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. More reviews are available online at www.usccb.org/movies.

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      CAPSULE REVIEW

      "The Haunting in Connecticut" (Lionsgate/Gold Circle)

      Reasonably effective, allegedly fact-based chiller about a Catholic couple (Virginia Madsen and Martin Donovan) who rent a former funeral home near the hospital where their teenage son (Kyle Gallner) is being treated for cancer, only to find themselves in a specter-ridden maelstrom, eventually turning for help to a clergyman (Elias Koteas) versed in the occult. While its efforts to place these supernatural goings-on within a larger spiritual and religious context may draw mixed reactions, director Peter Cornwell's old-fashioned spook story is understated and, though at times unsettling, largely free of bloodletting. Disturbing images, including charred and gory corpses, and a couple of profanities. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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      CLASSIFICATION

      "The Haunting in Connecticut" (Lionsgate/Gold Circle) -- USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification, A-II -- adults and adolescents. Motion Picture Association of America rating, PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
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