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The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia

2013 | 100 min | R | 2.39:1

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia


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Theatrical release date

 01 February, 2013
 31 October, 2013

Country of origin

 United States



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Screenshots from The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia Blu-ray

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, February 5, 2013

Franchises can be a funny thing, especially when there’s no room for the story to grow organically, necessitating some fuzzy name brand math to keep the cash rolling in. The absurdly titled “The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia” has nothing to do with the 2009 hit that starred Virginia Madsen, and not a frame of it takes place in Connecticut. It’s a new story in an alien state, with the producers once again taking shelter under dubious “true story” claims to concoct a chiller of limited ambition, this time delving into the real-world pain of slavery to locate a new conflict between the living and the dead.

Lisa Wyrick (Abigail Spencer) is a troubled woman with a direct connection to the spiritual world, a “gift” she tempers with pharmaceutical assistance, hoping to cool her anxiety. Moving to a rural home in Georgia with daughter Heidi (Emily Alyn Lind), Lisa greets husband Andy (Chad Michael Murray), who’s eager to build a stable domestic routine on ancient, overgrown land. Disrupting the party is Lisa’s sister Joyce (Katee Sackhoff), a reckless family member taking up residence nearby. As the group settles into their new surroundings, Heidi begins to see ghostly figure Mr. Gordy (Grant James), a mysterious man pulling the young girl toward a crisis involving The Stationmaster, a former landowner and key figure in the local Underground Railroad, hailed as a hero before his mysterious disappearance. Disturbed to discover her daughter shares her medium skills, Joyce struggles to understand the endgame for The Stationmaster, with the ghosts of missing slaves emerging from the spiritual world to warn the gifted of trouble coming their way.

What’s disappointing about “Ghosts of Georgia” is how far it goes with its story, only to arrive absolutely nowhere. It’s a tale of concerned spirits and a force of evil that wears a burlap sack over its head, while also developing a subplot of generational misery, with Lisa trying to drown out her powers of mediumship passed on by her mother (also shared by Joyce) while discovering Heidi’s newfound abilities. These are two considerable plotlines to follow, with The Stationmaster arc even more convoluted, adding touches of history with talk of Underground Railroad events, also covering the character’s interest in taxidermy, which comes to punish those who step near the monster, marking them with stitches and filling them with sawdust.

The screenplay by David Coggeshall is torn between working out the horror of The Stationmaster and playing up the whole picture as a “Ghost Whisperer” episode, pitting Lisa against her better judgment when the phantoms begin to develop as warning signals, despite their haunting appearance. The result is a surprisingly bland effort, poorly directed by editor Tom Elkins (whose last gig was 2012’s incomprehensible “The Apparition”), who spends much of the movie refusing to touch the complexity of the plot, instead focusing on the fear factor of the film, staging extended investigative scenes where the characters poke around in the dark, also trying to unnerve with Emily’s ghostly visions and conversations. The execution, with formulaic horror staging and cheap sonic jolts, is decidedly flat, and most genre fans will be able to telegraph most of the punches. The performances are equally deflating, finding Sackoff and Murray overacting to a cringing degree, while Lynd is a standard-issue child star, repeating her teary cycle ad nauseam. Spencer gives the most interesting performance in the feature, keeping credibly unraveled while Elkins weirdly downplays the importance of Lisa’s phantasmal backstory.

The final third of “Ghosts of Georgia” is devoted to the climax, offering additional dark spaces for the participants to stumble around within. Again, the plot’s too splintered to make its intended impression, with Elkins urging the film to scare rather than enlighten, leaving the resolution on the foggy side. There’s also a question of authenticity, as “Ghosts of Georgia” is set during 1993 for no apparent reason (the Wyrick story occurred in 1989), offers a completely invented Underground Railroad angle, and concludes with a picture of the Wyrick gang today, and they look nothing like the actors. Quite the opposite, actually. I’m not sure why the producers even bothered to dramatize the story if they weren’t going to keep tight on the details, but I suppose there are greater mysteries in play here. Top of that list: What happened to Connecticut?

Starring: Chad Michael Murray, Abigail Spencer, Katee Sackhoff, Emily Alyn Lind

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