The Haunting in Connecticut 2. Film Review

Director: Tom Elkins
Screenplay: David Coggeshall
Starring: Abigail Spencer, Chad Michael Murray, Katee Sackhoff, Emily Alyn Lind
Running Time: 101 Mins
Certificate: 15
Format: Blu-ray/DVD
Reviewed by Guy Adams

Well, at least half of the title is accurate.

THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT received the sort of critical battering usually reserved for unconsecrated remains when trying to stem the appearance of malevolent spirits. Personally I really enjoyed it. It made a good fist of building tension and climaxed in a pleasingly over the top manner.

For all its changes in geography (shifting several thousand miles and six or seven states further south) this sequel otherwise follows a similar structure.

Some beautiful people have bought an old house in the woods. Historically it was owned by a ‘Station Master’ helping escaped slaves find their way to freedom. The women of the household are prone to supernatural visions. Neurotic mother, Lisa (Spencer) is taking pills to try and control hers, while sister Joyce (Sackhoff) revels in them and young Heidi has taken to chatting with dead men in her bedroom. Predictably enough, the history of the house soon begins to make itself felt.

Predictably enough. Yes. That’s the film’s failing, at least for its first hour. While the original managed to bring some inventiveness to the haunted house genre, GHOSTS OF GEORGIA plays in far too comfortable territory. The moment this reviewer saw an old piano in the parlour he was desperately hoping it would be left in peace, sadly a spook was tinkling those ivories in a matter of minutes. So, while the build-up is handled effectively enough, it will feel too familiar for all but horror virgins.

The story is interesting enough though and, once it steps out of the cosiness of shadows flitting across the foreground while people stare nervously out of windows, the movie pays off the viewer’s patience.  The last half hour is perfectly enjoyable Grand Guignol, and while the story can never really be called surprising it is at least satisfying with solid performances from all. Ultimately, a run-of-the-mill but perfectly enjoyable slice of deep-fried horror fun.

As with the original, we’re frequently reminded that this is based on ‘true events’. We even close on a black and white photo of the genuine family staring, somewhat combatively, at us from beneath the branches of their spook-ridden garden. Such theatrics are a time-honoured wheeze and whether they strike a chord with you will depend entirely on your credulity. A special feature on the disc details the original case that formed the movie’s inspiration, there are also a few outtakes and deleted scenes.