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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: A Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia

April 16th, 2013

A Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

A Haunting in Connecticut earned terrible reviews, but did well enough at the box office to get a sequel greenlit. Granted, the sequel, A Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, is practically a direct-to-DVD sequel that's not even set in Connecticut, but clearly the studio thought the name had some value. In fact, they've already given a third film the greenlight. Was this a wise move? Or will people who see this film avoid any others in the franchise?

The Movie

The film takes place in 1993 with a young family moving into their new home in Georgia. There's Lisa and Andy, and their young daughter Heidi. The house is way out in the middle of nowhere. They got a good deal, because it had been empty for so long... or is it really empty? After a cheap jump scare involving a raccoon (not a spoiler, too obvious) Heidi sees some old man in the back yard, but he vanishes a split-second later. This could be a sign of mental troubles, as her mother saw something similar just before they moved. Of course, her mother is on medication to prevent these episodes.

It is at this moment, Aunt Joyce shows up. She's coming off a bad relationship and needs a place to stay. Andy is not happy, but accidentally offers to let her stay in an old camper someone had abandoned on the property. However, Heidi claims she saw a little girl living there.

After another jump scare... on a side note, I believe that two jump scares are the upper limit for a really good movie. After that, they start to lose their effectiveness. Even if you still manage to scare someone with any additional jump scares, they will begin to resent the movie. We are just nine minutes into this movie, and we've already hit that limit. That's a bad sign. After another jump scare, Lisa begins to cry, because she had another of her visions, only Heidi sees her crying this time. Heidi talks to Aunt Joyce about it, and Aunt Joyce explains that all of the women in their family have a gift to see the supernatural, only Lisa doesn't like this gift, so she tries to suppress it. (Hence the medication we see her take.) With the stress of the move, the medication isn't enough.

Heidi, on the other hand, seems to like being able to see spirits. She begins to talk to an old man, Mr. Gordy (Grant James), who tells her about an old swing in a tree, just like the one in Heidi's dreams. He also tells her about some coins buried in the garden. At first, Lisa thinks he's just imaginary, but when Andy and Joyce dig up the garden and find the coins, she knows Heidi has the gift, just like her. However, she still considers it a curse, just like her mother did. Joyce is a lot more receptive to this idea, but this just causes yet another fight between the sisters.

Shortly after this, Pastor Wells pays the family a visit. He's there to see if they've picked out a church, now that they've settled in. He also tells them about the historical significance of their property. The historical significance is entering spoiler territory and I would hate to spoil one of the few things about this movie that are not complete clichés.

Given the nature of this movie, I was not expecting originality, which is good, because there's very little to be found here. I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of parts of the movie. Firstly, the acting is a whole lot better than most similar films. Secondly, it looks really good. There are many shots of the southern countryside that look fantastic, especially on Blu-ray. The film also has many scenes that build up atmosphere and mood very well. Unfortunately, it has many, many scenes hwere mood and atmosphere are all that is being built up. Not only does it pick and choose from a wide number of haunting clichés, the film strings them together very slowly. By the time the movie finally picks up the pace, most audience members will have stopped caring.

The Extras

Extras start with an audio commentary track with the director, Tom Elkins; the screenwriter, David Coggeshall; and one of the co-producers, Brad Kessell. Up next is a featurette on the "real" story behind the movie. I hate horror films that pretend to be based on a real life story. I find it insulting. There are 17 minutes of deleted / alternative scenes and finally 4 minutes of outtakes. That's not bad for a film like this.

The technical presentation is better than I was expecting. There are quite a number of scenes where the visual distortions are used to denote the supernatural and many of these distract and detract from the overall visual quality. That said, when the film is just allowed to be, the level of details, the richness of the colors, the deepness of the blacks are all very strong. Likewise, sometimes the soundtrack is a little too intrusive when trying to emphasize the scaring nature of a particular scene, which became annoying. But, during the less intrusive moments, the audio track was very good. The dialogue was clear, there was good use of the surround sound speakers for dynamic and direction effects. The bass, while overused, did pack a punch.

The Blu-ray only costs $18, which is a low price; however, the DVD only costs $13, which is more inline with the overall value.

The Verdict

If you liked A Haunting in Connecticut, then A Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia is more of the same. It is hard to be more enthusiastic than that in my recommendation. The DVD is a lot cheaper than the Blu-ray, but at most I would recommend a rental.

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Filed under: Video Review, A Haunting in Connecticut 2: The Ghosts of Georgia, Haunting in Connecticut, Chad Michael Murray, Katee Sackhoff, Emily Alyn Lind, Brad Kessell, Abigail Spencer, Lance E. Nichols, Tom Elkins, David Coggeshall