By any other name, 'The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia' would still be one of the lamest and downright dumbest movies of the year. The title itself is complete utter nonsense, not only because this plot is set several states away from Connecticut, but also because it has absolutely nothing to do with the first movie starring Virginia Madsen. The filmmakers are simply attaching their ridiculously defective script to the coattails of an established film that's frankly not very good or the least bit memorable. When it came time to thinking of a title for this plodding mess, someone had the foresight to name it as they did because they knew it had no chance of ever being watched. But really, they might as well have called it "The Haunted RV" because at least then, there'd be a connection to one laughable moment in this otherwise nonsensical sequel.
To be perfectly honest, the story doesn't start off all that bad as it opens with the beautiful Abigail Spencer sitting on top her bed and looking emotionally distraught. In a conveniently dark corner of her room, a figure in a white dress hovers ominously while voices about letting "them" in are repeated a few times. Pretty creepy moment implying Spencer's Lisa possesses some sort of gift or talent for communicating with the paranormal, which we later find out her sister Joyce (Katee Sackhoff) calls "the veil." Unfortunately, this also makes blatantly apparent where the story will be going: this is an ability Lisa does not want, but when confronted with the ghosts haunting her newly-purchased house in rural Georgia, she eventually comes around to accepting it as a timely and useful gift. If it were any more transparent, this would be called "A Haunting of the Most Obvious," a terrifying vision of amateur horror.
The script comes from Dave Coggeshall, making his leap to the big screen after his short stint as head writer to television's 'Desire' and 'Watch over Me.' His TV origins are fairly easy to detect as the squeaky-clean, ultra-conservative dialogue makes the entire production feel like something that would be watched on the Hallmark channel — the spitting image of the perfect American family living in complete bliss until some pesky malevolent spirits attempt to disrupt their wholesome existence. Why in the world this movie is given the R-rating is beyond me. (I'm still confounded by the preposterous title.) Perhaps, if we're so inclined to, we could interpret the discovery behind the paranormal activity as the ghosts of the South's past continue to haunt the families of the present. But to do so would imply some level of hidden intelligence at work here, and I doubt the filmmakers meant anything deeper than what we're given.
The plot is reportedly inspired by the true story of the Wyrick family and possibly based on the Joyce Cathery book, The Veil: Heidi Wyrick's Story, but it's a largely fictionalized melodrama with parts from various other supernatural films, making the story all the more unbelievable. Chad Michael Murray plays a caricature — and acts much like mannequin as well — of the caring, dutiful husband who doesn't believe in ghosts and questions his wife's psychological but eventually comes around when so-called facts materialize. Emily Alyn Lind is the innocent one with spooky visions and an imaginary friend we know is not. The ability to see ghosts is ultimately no different that Mr. Hallorann's "shining," and Mr. Gordy is a total rip-off of Julian Beck's performance and attire from 'Poltergeist II.'
As the narrative slogs along, perversely savoring pathetic attempts at generating spine-chilling scenarios which barely sustain a viewer's attention span, it becomes all too clear why these wandering souls are suddenly feeling particularly frisky and upset. And yet, director Tom Elkins, previous editor of the original 'Haunting in Connecticut' making his debut, prolongs the supposed shocking twist ending for another half hour, turning this alleged spookfest into a frustrating and absolutely boring chore. The scariest part of the whole movie is the final closing minute when the made-for-television feel of the production suddenly turns into a literal Hallmark moment with "ooh-ahh" static photos and text reminding audiences of its true-story origins. Amateur melodrama at its finest, folks!
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Lionsgate Home Entertainment brings 'The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia' to Blu-ray on a Region A, BD25 disc. It comes inside a blue, eco-vortex keepcase with a code for an UltraViolet Digital Copy. At startup, viewers can skip over several trailers before being greeted by an animated menu screen with full-motion clips and music.
The 'Ghosts of Georgia' haunt Blu-ray with a generally pleasing, if a bit too sterilized 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (2.40:1). The film appears to have been shot digitally, which yields some really terrific moments that are razor-sharp and highly-detailed. Individual hairs are distinct, and the lines in surrounding foliage are very well-defined. We can clearly make out every smudge and imperfection in the anachronistic clothing and along the interior of the wooden house. Facial complexions are healthy with excellent revealing textures. The palette is lush with extravagant primaries that radiate off the screen and a large array of warm, vibrant secondary hues. Black levels are penetrating and often inky rich with strong shadow details while contrast is spot-on and crisp with bright, clean whites.
About the only thing keeping this presentation short of perfection is some deliberate, stylized photography meant to represent the trance-like visions of characters. Contrast and resolution suddenly drops, the overall palette turns monochromatic and a heavy dose of digital grain is applied. It's intentionally ugly and jarring, but ignoring those brief segments, this confusing sequel arrives with a highly-impressive high-def transfer.
'Haunting in Connecticut 2' also tries to stir up some scares with this strong and generally amusing DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Sadly, much like the story, there are practically no frights or shocks to be had here. The sound design makes a good effort, however, with several discrete atmospherics which expand the soundfield with ease and create a decently eerie environment. Panning is also fluid and convincing as a few noises creep from one side of the room to the other. Imaging is expansive and welcoming with excellent channel separation and clear, precise dialogue reproduction in the center. Dynamic range is detailed and crisp with great distinction within the music while the low-end offers some very nice robust rumblings and enjoyable sweeps during the trance-like visions.
It's not very consistent or immersive enough to praise, but the lossless mix works for particular scenes and is cleanly delivered, which is at least worth noting.
Ignoring the nonsensical title, this ghost story set in rural Georgia is really a standalone flick riding the coattails of a forgettable yet better horror feature about the paranormal. Lacking scares, a worthwhile plot, characterization, originality, or pretty much anything to make this production the least bit enjoyable, 'The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia' is bargain bin melodrama with an intriguing concept relegated to an absurdly ridiculous narrative device. The Blu-ray, on the other hand, arrives with an excellent audio and video presentation that will please whatever fans out there exist, but the bonus material is easy-breezy junk with some interesting tidbits, making this a good disc, but a bad flick.