The Haunting in Connecticut was truly a special movie and one that I re-watch at least once a year, so when I learned that they were making a sequel, my interest was piqued. I have to say that my enthusiasm was cut short when I saw that the actual title of the film was The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia because if the title doesn’t even make sense, there is little hope that the movie itself will. Still, five years ago, I rented it as soon as I could in the hopes that it would defy expectations. Now, coming up on its five-year anniversary, we remember a movie that almost could.
One of my biggest pet peeves about the horror industry is when studios have a script that they want to make, but they know it’s not strong enough to make it on its own, so they attach it to a franchise with name recognition – see Hellraiser: Inferno or Leprechaun Origins for perfect examples. That is obviously what happened here considering the contradictory nature of the title. I could probably write 500 words just about how dumb the title is, but I will spare you my rant. What the title does indicate is the reckless nature in the process of making The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia.
As the title suggests, the film is set in Georgia, where a family has just moved into their new house which hasn’t been inhabited for over twenty years. Neither the family nor the house is what they seem, which soon leads to the inhabitants of the house being terrorized by a forced unseen by most. As the story unfolds, more pieces fall into place as you start to understand that what the locals think about the house and the true story of the property are two vastly different ideas. From there, it becomes the old, “can the family stop the dark force before it’s too late?” storyline.
One aspect of The Haunting in Connecticut 2 I can’t complain about is the acting. Though the main characters are portrayed by One Tree Hill’s Chad Michael Murray and character actor Abigail Spencer, hardly A-list stars, their acting is better than what this movie deserves. Even the film’s youngest star, Emily Alyn Lind, delivers a solid performance as the couples’ young daughter who is terrorized by the ghosts that roam the property.
It is obvious that they had high hopes for Ghosts of Georgia because they seem to have put a lot of money into the special effects. There are a few spooky scenes where ghosts appear in the frame, or mummified bodies are revived back to the flesh and blood they once were. There is nothing groundbreaking about these effects, but they are a lot better than most of your direct to video SFX.
The film isn’t completely without merit; in fact, with a better script, it could have been a contender. It is based on true events, and they even show the real family at the end of the movie which goes a lot further than most “based on true events” stories. The problem with this film lies squarely on a poor script and awful direction, which leaves you feeling as though you are missing key pieces of information while being inundated with a portion of the storyline which could have been completely left out and wouldn’t have changed the movie much.
It is a rare feat for a movie that only cost nine million to produce to lose money, but Ghosts of Georgia managed to do just that. I wanted to like this movie, Chad Michael Murray and all, but they just wouldn’t let me. Five years later, The Haunting in Connecticut 2 reminds us that some movies are better off without a slew of direct to video sequels.