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'The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia' Movie Review

About.com Rating 2 Star Rating

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'Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia' movie poster.
© Lionsgate/Golden Circle
The Haunting in Connecticut was a breakout horror hit in 2009, but surprisingly, the sequel has been relegated to a (very) limited theatrical release simultaneous with availability on demand -- surprising, that is, until you actually watch the final product.

The Plot

In the summer of 1993, the Wyrick family -- Andy (Chad Michael Murray), Lisa (Abigail Spencer) and their young daughter Heidi (Emily Alyn Lind) -- moves from Atlanta to an old farmhouse in rural Georgia. They're followed shortly thereafter by Lisa's sister Joyce (Katee Sackhoff), who shows up unexpectedly needing a place to stay and ends up crashing in an old abandoned camper in the yard. Lisa takes medication to suppress what she assumes to be hallucinations of dead people -- most notably her mother -- dismissing Joyce's suggestion that she, like Joyce and their mother, has a "gift" for seeing ghosts.

Much to Lisa's dismay, soon after their move, Heidi also begins seeing "imaginary" people, in particular an old man she calls Mr. Gordy. After doing some research, the family finds out that a man name Gordy used to own the property, and prior to that, it was used as a 19th century way station for the underground railroad. As Heidi, Lisa and Joyce all begin seeing more and more specters around the property, it's clear they want something, and the Wyricks must figure out the mystery before it costs them their lives.

The End Result

Emily Alyn Lind in 'The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia'.

Emily Alyn Lind in 'The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia'.

© Golden Circle/Lionsgate
The first hint that this movie isn't very good came when its name was changed from the much more sensible The Haunting in Georgia to the unwieldy The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, as if to say, "Remember that first movie you liked? Well, this is kind of the same thing!" In reality, it has a much more direct-to-video look and feel than the original film, even though the budget was reportedly a healthy $9 million. You could point a finger at first-time director Tom Elkins (indeed, some of the scares are delivered in an alarmingly perfunctory manner), but every element of the film -- direction, writing, cast -- ends up feeling like a downgrade, so you have to find some fault with the producers (who, by the way, are the same as the first movie).

Ghosts of Georgia's plot is basically one long, drawn-out series of ghostly visions -- facilitated by the fact that three of the main characters have the "gift" of seeing spirits -- with a eventual (and not terribly satisfactory) explanation as to what they mean in the final 10 minutes or so. The pacing of scares (or attempted scares) is poor, with hardly any letup in between scenes, but despite the relentless onslaught of ghostly images, the characters remain stubbornly naïve, acting surprised each time, as if they haven't already seen a half-dozen ghosts over the past two days. The protagonists' annoying nature doesn't stop there; they constantly leave poor little Heidi all alone, they always commit the genre -standard gaffe of venturing out alone to investigate strange noises, and despite all of the evidence beating her about the head and shoulders, Lisa's obliviousness about the nature of her visions makes her seem like an irresponsible and uncaring parent.

A few scenes here and there have enough of a creep factor to work, but for the most part, Ghosts of Georgia trots out tired ghost story clichés: whispered voices, little kids with "imaginary friends," ghosts who target said little kids (in this case, for no apparent reason), scary dreams, scary dreams within dreams, etc. Although it's supposedly based on a true story, the plot becomes increasingly ridiculous as it plays out, sapping any sense of realism. Ghosts of Georgia feels like such a halfhearted effort, it's hard to believe producers will follow through on plans for a New York-set sequel.

The Skinny

  • Acting: C (Competent genre performances.)
  • Direction: C- (A few scares work, but most are predictable with minimal impact.)
  • Script: D+ (Cliché-ridden with annoying characters.)
  • Gore/Effects: C- (Minimal gore; bland ghost makeup effects.)
  • Overall: C- (A pedestrian, unimaginative ghost story with sporadic-at-best scares.)

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia is directed by Tom Elkins and is rated R by the MPAA for some disturbing horror content. Release date: February 1, 2013 (limited/on demand).

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