Getting Haunted with Elias Koteas

Getting Haunted with Elias Koteas
Rick Florino

The Haunting In Connecticut was quite an experience for Elias Koteas. “I walked away from the film feeling really rejuvenated and energized,” says the actor sitting at home in Montreal. “I feel like we all went somewhere.”

Audiences will get to take that same unforgettable cinematic trip when the film hits theaters at the end of March, and it truly is a journey to hell and back. Based on true events, Haunting tells the story of a cancer-stricken boy named Matt Campbell (Kyle Gallner).Matt’s mom, Sara (Virginia Madsen), purchases an old house close to the hospital where he’s receiving treatment in Connecticut. However, the house was famous for “amplified” séances that eventually ended in the death of five people and the disappearance of a strange young medium. Instantly upon moving in, Matt becomes tormented by something evil. He meets Reverend Nicholas Popescu (Elias) in treatment, and the two face the darkness of the house together. What ensues is beyond terrifying.Elias shows, “Haunting is not about possession. It’s something altogether different. There’s something in the house. You feel it, and it’s hard to describe. If you’re open to it, you pick up on the energy.” It’s impossible not to feel that energy when watching the movie. It creeps inside your psyche and doesn’t leave. The film doesn’t employ cheap scares, but rather there’s a masterful encroaching terror like a classic ‘70s horror flick. “This evil is all around you,” Elias explains.“The film goes inside what we’re most afraid of when dealing with spirituality and the question of where we go after we die. Some of my favorite horror movies have touched me in that way. As a little boy, I loved monster flicks, but these psychological, spiritual horror movies kept me awake at night. It seems so possible.”

There’s no escaping the darkness in Haunting. For Elias, it was about searching for a benevolence inside his character to combat this supernatural force. “I had to find the humanity in this surreal experience. For me, it was very practical. I’m a very spiritual person, and it’s a big part of my life.
I saw myself in this boy. Great horror films will stay with you. You want to make something powerful that lives with the viewer long after it ends.”

However, the philosophical implications were even greater in the film, which is why it’s often so powerful.Elias continues, “If you’re confronted with a certain illness and you’re really afraid for your life, things start making sense. The things that don’t matter fall to the wayside. I felt a certain freedom in exploring that during the film. There was a very clear focus on what mattered. It gets under your skin.”

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