The Haunting in Connecticut 2 review (Blu-ray)

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia tells the story of Lisa Wyrick (Spencer), a troubled woman who in 1993 moves with her husband Andy (Murray) and daughter Heidi (Lind) to a long-abandoned homestead in the Deep South. Troubled by the idea that her hallucinations may in fact stem from an inherited ability to see the dead, Lisa hopes that the move will give them all a fresh start. Instead, the Wyrick's new home may hide a dark secret from the even darker days of slavery.

THIS family has a hereditary gift for seeing the dead, a gift of which patriarch Lisa (Spencer) is in deep denial. When her young daughter Heidi (Lind) starts having her own crystal clear visions of spirits, and indeed starts talking to them, it’s only her aunt and fellow seer Joyce (Sackhoff) that offers any insight. As Heidi explores her new ability more and more, she awakens the slumbering evil of a slave-murdering taxidermist still thirsty for blood. Poor, well-meaning father Andy (Murray) is just along for the ride.

There Ghosts of Georgia shares nothing with the original Haunting in Connecticut bar a family in trouble. Having Lisa, her sister Joyce (Sackhoff) and – as it becomes very clear soon on – her daughter having the gift of second sight does away with waiting for the family's inevitable realisation that they are haunted. Instead, the focus shifts to Lisa's rejection of her own mother's legacy while at the same time trying to protect Heidi from it. However, the film's rush to show the spirits that lurk among us robs the film of any real conflict that could have been generated from Lisa's internal struggle. In truth, there is very little in the way of concrete character development and it's difficult to make a genuine emotional attachment to the characters – even when the dead begin to rise.

This is a technically competent film. Visual effects are clean and there are a handful of impressive sequences that do shock, but this in itself is not enough to warrant a recommendation. The film drags itself to a rather clichéd conclusion and those conventions of the genre that make an appearance are merely used to hamfistedly plug plot holes. Generally, if one suspects a plot twist or scare is coming up, chances are it will.

Ghosts of Georgia is a confused film that seems to forget that it should be telling a story – albeit an allegedly true one – with a small cast with undefined roles to play within it. Is this a modern-day ghost story or a tale of a woman struggling with things beyond her control? One could be generous and suggest that the film is an exploration of the theme of accepting the past and laying old ghosts to rest, both within our families and society at large. However, such generosity may be too much.

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia is a film with less substance than the spirits whose stories it is trying to bring to life.

EXTRAS ★★ Bonus material includes an outtake reel and the featurette Seeing Ghosts: the True Story of the Wyricks, a short presentation of the real-life Wyrick family and what happened in their own words. Of greatest note is the Deleted Scenes, the inclusion of some of which in the film would have added an extra layer to the text and the characters.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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