Far and away my favorite thing about The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia is its cringingly awkward, Mason/Dixon-line-leaping title. My second favorite thing about the movie, meanwhile, is...ummm...hmmm....uhhh...no, wait,
I think I had something for this.
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I guess what I'm getting at here is that no, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia -- I'll never get used to writing out that whole thing -- really isn't very good.
If your family is blessed/cursed with the ability to pierce through the veil and see the spirits of the dead, a tragedy-laden stop on the Underground Railroad might not be the greatest place to play house. ...but, hey, the realtor didn't get into all that when Andy (Chad Michael Murray) was negotiating. Heidi (Emily Alyn Lind) keeps going on and on about a kindly old man named Mr. Gordy who no one else can see. An imaginary friend, right? Precious! It's just that everything he tells the young girl comes to pass, from an old swing that used to be hanging up there all the way to a cache of valuable coins buried in the garden. Aunt Joyce (Katee Sackhoff) encourages Heidi to explore these ancestral gifts; her mom Lisa (Abigail Spencer), meanwhile, follows in her own mother's footsteps and chemically suppresses them, teetering on the brink of insanity as a result. Is Mr. Gordy a figment of Heidi's imagination or is he a phantom that's crossed over into the realm of the living? Is he the benificent spirit this wide-eyed young girl believes him to be or something far more sinister? What other secrets are buried in the grounds of this historic home? What with The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia being a paranormal thriller and all, you probably don't need me to tell you that shit goes south. Wait, why wasn't that the tagline?
The most frustrating thing about The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia is that on so many levels, it's actually put together pretty well. I mean, Yaron Levy's cinematography looks fantastic, and I stopped a couple of times to marvel at how strikingly composed the camerawork can be. Even though the movie was shot a couple states over from Georgia, some of the exteriors are still wonderfully atmospheric and unmistakeably Southern. Everyone in the cast generally holds their own, and that's always a good thing. Because Ghosts of Georgia opts for mood, atmosphere, and tragedy over cranked-up-to-eleven supernatural scares, the effects work plays nicely with the film's limited budget. Apart from having the most ridiculous title this side of The Last Exorcism II, there's
not much to be snarky or sarcastic about here.
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If you've never been exposed to anything resembling a
horror flickparanormal thriller before, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia might be wildly effectively. The first two-thirds of the movie play like screenwriter Dave Coggeshall picked up a Paint-by-Numbers Haunted House Movie set at Stuckey's on the drive down to Baton Rouge. A silhouette breezes by in the background...colossal sting in the score! Rated-E-for-everyone ghostly visions. Mysteriously opening doors. Beetles and bugs because ewww, gross! A kind of fuzzy guy off in the background. The camera pans down and oh noes there's a skeleton that wasn't there a second ago. The first two acts are almost aggressively routine and uninspired, devoid of any tension or so much as a single, effective jolt. I appreciate horror with this sort of atmospheric bent -- The Innocents and The Changeling are two of my all-time favorites, so I really do get it -- but throughout its first two acts, Ghosts of Georgia unimaginatively flounders around. It's so lackluster and uninvolving that when all hell finally starts to break loose...when the most horrifying secrets of the stationmaster's home are revealed!...the movie's already been poisoned. The screenplay at that point does a tremendous job upending everything you thought you knew, some of the revelations really are jaw-agape devastating, and there's one entrancingly bizarre type of supernatural assault I can honestly say I've never seen before. By that point, though, it's far too little and much too late. Skip It.
Despite being saddled with a fairly lackluster bitrate, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia doesn't suffer for it. Clumsily stylized flashbacks and SpiritVision™ aside, this Blu-ray disc looks terrific all around: sharp, richly detailed, and surprisingly colorful. No real complaints.
Single layer disc. AVC encode. 2.39:1.
This 24-bit, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack hits all the right marks. The surrounds reinforce the movie's atmospheric approach to horror, with strange, skittering sounds in the woods and haunting whispers approaching from behind. There are also some impressively smooth pans across the front and rear channels. The stings in the score, meanwhile, are reinforced with every bit as much bass as you'd expect. The level of distinctness and clarity offered here far outclass anything DVD could ever hope to deliver. The movie's dialogue is generally reproduced well, although some of the Southern-fried line readings early on are mumbled to the point of barely being discernable. The mix deliberately isn't as aggressive as most fright flicks, but the fidelity and sharp sound design earn all kinds of stars in the sidebar over there.
No dubs or alternate mixes. Subtitles are offered in English (traditional and SDH) and Spanish.
- Seeing Ghosts: The True Story of the Wyricks (10 min.; HD): Oh, yeah, I guess I forgot to mention that The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia is
based on a true story, and here you get to catch up with the Wyricks and hear more about The Veil, Mr. Gordy, and how their ghostly visions have persisted in the couple decades since.
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- Audio Commentary: Ghosts of Georgia's commentary track features director/editor Tom Elkins, writer David Coggeshall, and co-producer Brad Kessell, and it's one of those discussions that's so personable, so energetic, and so overflowing with enthusiasm that I kind of feel guilty for trashing their flick. Elkins marvels at how wonderful everyone and everything associated with the movie is, laughs about a scare with a vulture turned into a scare with an owl that turned into nothin', the kismet deal about finding a ratty RV in the woods instead of having to buy one, struggling with the MPAA to score...wait, this wasn't PG-13?, and how many scenes and shots were reshuffled around during editing. I'm not crazy about the movie, obviously, but this commentary is pretty solid.
- Deleted Scenes (18 min.; HD): Tom Elkins was an editor before taking the reins as a director, and he's made it a point to show how dramatically a few nips and tucks can change a sequence. This reel of thirteen (!) deleted scenes and early edits focus heavily on how a film takes shape in the editing room, and that's also the dominant topic of discussion in his optional commentary.
- Outtakes (4 min.; HD): I'm a cheap date for a blooper reel with owl and doggie hijinks.
- Trailer (2 min.; HD): Last up is a trailer...and no, not for this movie, but for The Haunting in Connecticut. You know, the one that's actually set in Connecticut.
An UltraViolet digital copy code is also tucked inside.
The Final Word
The bland, forgettable The Haunting in Connecticut scores an even blander, more forgettable sequel-in-name-only. Skip It.