If someone were to guess where this movie takes place, there’d be a fifty-fifty chance they’d get it right. Is it Connecticut or Georgia? Well, let’s analyze. The film is called The Haunting in Connecticut 2, subtitled Ghosts of Georgia. Going in, knowing nothing about the film, I inferred that it takes place in Connecticut, but the characters, or possibly whatever ghosts are causing the haunting, have roots in Georgia. Maybe there’s a plot that has something to do with the Civil War or the Underground Railroad. Not exactly original, but logical.
But another, cynical way of thinking is that the film takes place in Georgia, and has absolutely nothing to do with Connecticut; that this sequel is attempting to cash in on a brand. The original Haunting in Connecticut wasn’t a blockbuster, but it was profitable. And Hollywood loves profit. Lionsgate had this successful property on their hands, and they were looking to squeeze it dry. Rather than put any time and effort into a serious sequel, they chose to slap the Haunting in Connecticut title on some low-rent production they had set to run, in the hopes of making some cash.
You know, I wouldn’t be a pessimist or a cynic if the world stopped proving me right.
As it turns out, there is a slavery element to the plot. Lucky guess on my part. But I really hit the jackpot by guessing that Connecticut fails to make a single appearance, even peripherally.
The film follows the unfortunate Wyrick family of Georgia, not Connecticut. Mom (Abigail Spencer), dad (Chad Michael Murray), mom’s sister (Katee Sackhoff), and little Heidi (Emily Alyn Lind) move into a rural cabin that happens to be haunted by the ghost of the previous owner, and a bunch of other dead people. That there’s more than one ghost is apparent early on. Unlike most ghost films, this movie doesn’t scrimp on the apparitions. The ghosts show up so often here it’s surprising the Wyricks don’t just invite them to sit down to dinner. I would applaud the filmmakers for foregoing typical ghost film conventions were it not for the fact those conventions worked, and this film does not.
The film is littered throughout the first half with shock moments. It’s all fairly straightforward and familiar. There’s a ghost in a reflection, a ghost in a shadow, a ghost behind those trees, a ghost standing RIGHT BEHIND YOU!! About halfway through the film’s pace ratchets up, and, surprisingly, the film improves. I was about as disengaged with this movie as I could get by this first half, which suffered from pointless setup and a criminal lack of scares for a horror film. The second half wasn’t enough to bring the film back up from the depths, but at least it made things interesting.
The film’s lack of scares, lack of originality, and it clearly being a shameless cash grab, doom this flick to the trash heap of horror history. In that, it won’t be alone. The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, is a worse film than Alien: Resurrection. I like my franchise cash grabs to actually have something, anything to do with the previous films. Is that asking too much? Would it have been all that bad to call this flick The Haunting in Georgia?