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RUNNING TIME 101 Minutes
• Audio Commentary
• Seeing Ghosts: The True Story of the Wyricks
• Audio Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
The Haunting in Connecticut that was not in Connecticut.
Abigail Spencer, Chad Michael Murray, Katee Sackhoff, Emily Alyn Lind, Cicely Tyson, Lance Nichols
Based on a true story, this horrifying tale traces a young family’s nightmarish descent into a centuries-old Southern hell. When Andy Wyrick (Chad Michael Murray) moves his wife Lisa (Abigail Spencer) and daughter Heidi to an historic home in Georgia, they quickly discover they are not the house’s only inhabitants. Joined by Lisa’s sister, Joyce (Katee Sackhoff), the family soon comes face-to-face with a bone-chilling mystery.
A sequel in name only, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia is not as god-awful as its Rotten Tomatoes score (23%) might have you believe. In fact, the acting is OK, our mother-daughter leads have clear character arcs, the lighting and cinematography are fairly good, and it looks quite glossy for a production that only cost 1.5 million. It also sports one of the dumbest, most baffling titles I’ve ever read, but that’s not why the film fails.
Even though The Haunting in Co— fuck it, I’m not typing that out again. Even though THIC2:GOG is rated R, it does nothing to separate itself from the myriad of PG-13 haunting movies. It was obviously shot as a PG-13, like the first film, but that film felt pervasively mean-spirited, and I think that tone helped it make seventy-seven million dollars. This sequel, however, is overflowing with sweet-tea sentimentality.
The sentimental nature of the film isn’t the most damning facet, though. THIC2:GOG fails primarily because it is nothing new. It’s full of dry corpses, ghosts in big hats, icky cobwebs, creepy taxidermy, wide gaping CGI mouths, and lots of bugs. Don’t get me wrong, I love tales of the spooky South. I grew up on a steady diet of Kentucky ghost stories. But the screenplay is so overstuffed with tame genre tropes and “borrowed” ideas that the film is just not worth a hundred minutes of your time.
Acts one and two progress as you might expect, setting up that the women in the Wyrick family have the gift of spiritual sensitivity, being able to open their minds to the ghosts around them. The youngest member of the family, Heidi, starts seeing an old man in period costume lurking around her family’s newly owned rural property. Soon after, the kid is puking up bugs and the hospital staff think her parents are abusive. There is a halfhearted, maudlin attempt at making the haunted property part of the Underground Railroad, the implications of which border on romantic racism. Cicely Tyson’s brief cameo is an eye-rollingly obvious “Magical Negro” role, as is Lance Nichols’ pastor character.
The third act goes completely off the rails, essentially becoming a serial killer monster movie. It loses the “based on a true story” feel, and goes apeshit in a bad way. The antagonistic spirit has an underground lair, complete with candles, freaky dead animals, an assortment of sharp tools, and a collection of taxidermy slaves. It’s not unlike Jeepers Creepers. There’s a moment directly “inspired” by Gore Verbinski’s The Ring, when a woman makes a phone call, but instead ends up pulling endless amounts of thread from her own mouth. The film’s climax can only be described as a messy clump of “what the fuck”. While it does complete a character arc, it’s just a confluence of mystical bullshit established in the first and second acts.
While I certainly don’t think the widely-panned first film is good, it did have a few interesting scares up its sleeve. It also had a nasty, mean-spirited tone that helped ratchet up the tension. This tedious and strange sequel might have decent performances and production values, but the screenplay is so full of recycled moments and dated archetypes that the final product is a special kind of bad: forgettable.
The video quality on the disc is a pleasant surprise. The film has a warm color and texture, and the transfer really helps the flick look fantastic. It’s a well-shot film, maybe a little over-lit for my personal tastes, but everything is framed nicely. There is some added noise during flashback and ghost sequences, but it’s not obtrusive. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix has a pleasant amount of bass, and the levels of woodsy ambience are great. Dialogue is perhaps a tad soft, but it’s a very solid audio track overall.
The extras are okay, but the commentary is the standout feature. With the director, writer, and co-producer on board, they reveal interesting anecdotes about the low-budget production. The deleted scenes are boring, but footage from the cut scenes was recut and put back into the film, so the director commentary for these scenes is interesting to hear. The featurette about the real Wyrick family is the same kind of stuff you see on TV, but if you’re into ghost stories it might be worth a look. The outtakes are cute, but not cute enough to make this flick a must-see. Skip it!
Out of a Possible 5 Stars