Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia

I've always had this theory that horror films are pretty much the easiest films to write, direct and act in – well, that is to say bad horror films. All you need to do is tick the right boxes, and The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia has them all covered.  Scary old house? Check! A terrified little girl? Check! Someone in bed who turns over to see a ghostly figure? Check! Plenty of jump scares? Check! A shaky camera? Check! Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica? Mother f'ing check! While it isn't the bottom of the barrel, it isn't exactly The Shining, and that's apparent throughout its cheap looking, lazily written and painfully middle-of-the-road story.

Directed by Tom Elkins and starring Abigail Spencer, Emily Alyn Lind and Katee Sackhoff comes The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, a film that proves that while you may not need a huge budget to produce a good horror film, you do at least need decent actors, writers and, of course, a competent director. Ghosts of Georgia struggles with all of those elements, and ends up being quite mundane and not really worth your time. The film is a sequel to 2009's The Haunting in Connecticut. However, the word “sequel” may be too strong, as it's not a direct follow-up to that film, but rather simply within the same franchise. Still, it's a bit confusing considering the two locations in the title, Connecticut and Georgia, are two American states nowhere even near each other. It's like calling the upcoming Star War film “Star Wars: Australia”, it just doesn't make any sense!

The story is exactly what you're expecting. It follows the The Wyrick family as they purchase a new home in rural Georgia. The house itself has some history to it, yet despite this the family manages to get it at a pretty good price. The family consists of the parents Lisa and Andy, and their daughter Heidi. While it all seems idyllic, Lisa and Andy become aware that Heidi is having conversations with a man simply known as “Mr. Gordy”; an unseen spectre that Heidi is in touch with. When the dark history of their house comes to light, ominous ghostly activity begins to rear its ugly head. Though Lisa and Andy are at first vehemently against the idea that there are paranormal forces at work within their house, it doesn't take long before the ghosts make their presence explicitly clear. Yeah, it's the same old story; Old house, kid who can talk to the dead, sceptical parents, ghosts, stuff going bump in the night, etc. However, Ghosts of Georgia's problems aren't with its story, hell, even Poltergeist had a simple story, instead it's everything else that pulls it down to B-movie status.

If you don't have good performances in a film it all falls apart, and in Ghosts of Georgia this is glaringly apparent. It feels as if everyone is phoning their lines in, as throughout there's no real sense of dread, no feeling that this family is contending with an otherworldly force or that, considering their daughter is in touch with the dead, that the parents are even invested in Heidi's safety. That said, Emily Alyn Lind who plays Heidi does a good job throughout, though I really felt that this young actress could deliver a much greater performance with much better material at hand.

Another element that kills the horror in Ghosts of Georgia is the fact that it relies far too much on jump scares. Seriously, the amount of jump scares here is staggering, and around half way through the film you'll be quite literally immune to its effects. There are some decent and shocking scares here however, but beyond the very few that are genuinely creepy, there are plenty more that are tired and overdone.

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia doesn't understand that less is more. It throws a lot at the screen, and while some of it does stick, most of it just falls flat on its face. It's not the worst horror film I've seen, but it certainly does rely on all the classic and overused tricks in the horror genre's bag. 

...Oh but Starbuck is in it, so it's not completely awful!

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia won't offer many scares and gets a 2/5.


Denis Murphy

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia at CeX

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