The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia Blu-ray Review
One of the problems with horror movies (and I’m a fan) is that they inevitably release sequels that may or may not live up to the original. For every HALLOWEEN H2O (which I enjoyed) there are 3 or 4 shortfalls like HALLOWEEN 2, HALLOWEEN 3, etc. I’ll stop picking on the John Carpenter flicks for a bit, though, and get on with the review of the recent to Blu-ray THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA. After a meager outing in theaters, earlier this year, this horror flick quickly hit the Blu-ray shelves in the hopes of grabbing some more viewers and cementing this planned trilogy with some type of following. Sadly, THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA suffers from similar problems, i.e. it’s BORING, as the first in the series.
While not a true sequel, GHOSTS OF GEORGIA starts with similar feelings as the previous film in the franchise, THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT, in that this is also based on a “true story”. This film follows a young family who is moving into a decrepit and isolated Georgian home to try to escape the problems with which they’ve been dealing. We’re tipped off to the films off-kilter and lazy presentation from the opening credits… too much in the way of technical trickery, without much intriguing story, mars this film’s presentation.
A fairly simple story, THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA brings us the Wyrick family (young, white, middle class) who are moving to a home in the country to try to mitigate some of mother and daughter’s mental health issues (are they seeing things or are they crazy??). Lisa Wyrick is the mother, played fairly one-note by the beautiful Abigail Spencer (you might remember her from COWBOYS & ALIENS in 2011). She has apparently suffered from visions her entire life. Upon arriving at their new home, Lisa’s visions increase in frequency and intensity; the daughter, Heidi (played by Emily Alyn Lind), also begins to see things and talk to people who have apparently been dead for many years.
The whole movie is built on a slippery premise that the home was once a stop for the Underground Railroad, and something terrible happened that is now tormenting the family. Just because I love her, props to Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck from the recent BATTLESTAR GALACTICA reboot) for inhabiting the one character who’s fairly interesting – Lisa’s sister Joyce – who, unlike Lisa, has chosen to embrace her gift and acts as Heidi’s compass during the “scary” inanity that ensues. Joyce provides a few light moments in addition to the heavier (read: PLODDING) pace of the rest of the film.
Sadly, the interesting “based on a true story” premise of this film, like it’s predecessor, falls short. Eventually the pace of the film, like the tricks used to make us feel disoriented, starts to feel boring and lose their effectiveness. One thing I learned in film school, I think I’ve mentioned before, is that filmmakers should create a story that is compelling and, depending on the type of story, suspenseful, scary, funny, etc. Those feelings should be derivative of the story and identifying with the characters and the situation… that’s what the best movies do for us, isn’t it? Recently there have been a slew of lazy films, like THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA, that use film tricks like quick cuts and color desaturation to make us feel disoriented rather than relying on the story and, in fact, taking away from it… Don’t get me wrong, technical savvy is a useful trick, and it works to limited effect. The problem is, at the end of the day, the suspense doesn’t mean anything so it doesn’t stay with you. And at the end of this day, neither will THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA. The cover of the Blu-ray is far more interesting, and scary, than the movie. Look away and save the money.
Video: (1080p, 2.39:1 Widescreen) The video presentation for THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA is generous, even with the limitations of what passed for the final cut of the film. A nice transfer brings all of the granularity and shifting colors to your HD-TV, should you care to see them.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio is slightly less well presented, but works well for THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA. You’ll probably notice some of the sounds actually scare you more than the images on the screen – they’re presented well here on this lackluster film.
Audio Commentary featuring Tom Elkins (Director), David Coogeshall (writer), and Brad Kessell (Co-Producer) These guys seem very nice, and I’m sorry THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA wasn’t better for them. It just doesn’t work anywhere as well as they seem to think. The commentary is considerably more interesting than the movie, but I’m not sure why anyone would watch it.
Seeing Ghosts: The True Story of the Wyricks (10:18) A very interesting little featurette, the actual family featured in THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA discusses their actual experience. I’m sure not whether to believe them or not, but they’ve obviously gotten some mileage from their story.
Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director Tom Elkins (17:47) 13 scenes are shown here that were deleted or “refashioned” from THE HAUNTING OF CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA. Director Elkins provides an optional commentary for them. Apparently the reactions to early screenings were even worse, if you’d believe his comments.
Outtakes (03:59) I don’t understand outtakes being included on a film like THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA… I guess it works with the generally off-kilter presentation.
THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA also comes packed with the new industry-standard UltraViolet digital copy (the bane of my movie-loving existence) and with a theatrical trailer both for this travesty (02:08) and the original theatrical trailer for THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT (02:27).