Friday, February 01, 2013

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia

Daddy's Here

The Haunting in Connecticut film series can be that real estate warning that if something's too good to be price-wise, it probably is, and comes along with its resident ghoul and spooky background that's hiding some deep, dark secret. Which explains its rock bottom price that's unbelievable for a mansion on sprawling grounds. This Ghosts of Georgia sequel is handled by a completely different creative team, utilizing similar "Based on a true story" tricks, and a premise based on a haunted house, with everything after being fairly decent and makes for an average horror flick at best.

Director Tom Elkins shows his inexperience in handling atmosphere and mood, with the creation of suspense almost found wanting. There's the over utilizing and reliance on sound to try and be that spooky lead in, which under a relatively new director, became a precursor, priming the audience for something, and making the cardinal sin of not delivering what got promised. It may be seen as an attempt not to fall into the temptation of dipping into the tried and tested cues, but one has to be creative and inventive to work something effective. The presentation styles, while well-meaning to show the audience the different worlds seen by the characters - real, and the ghostly, the constant flitting about does get on the nerves, as does the MTV styled quick-cut editing that ultimately shadowed what should be seen.

If the Wyrick family was Chinese, they would feel they were one of the most unluckiest folks in the world, having Lisa (Abigail Spencer) and her sister Joyce (Katee Sackhoff) gifted with the ability to see spirits whether they like it or not, and this gift being passed down to Lisa's daughter Heidi (Emily Alyn Lind), who begins communicating with a certain Mr Gordy (Grant James), the previous owner of the new house in the middle of nowhere that they moved into. The only person to feel a little out of place, is Lisa's husband and Heidi's father Andy (Chad Michael Murray), who is just about the most normal, rational person around. You see, if the house is haunted, you bolt right out of there immediately, rather than to discredit one's young daughter as Lisa does. But yeah, she's on drugs to deny what she knows, with the entire gift versus curse issue being played out for far too long.

Like its predecessor in the series, writer David Coggeshall managed to weave a decent back-story into the reasons behind the haunting, that contained neat plot developments involving the story of Mr Gordy the previous owner of the property, and that of his ancestor known as the Station Master (Wayne Pere), at a time where slavery was the norm. Hailed as a hero of his time, the Station Master hides a dark secret which forms the climax of the film, which worked thanks to decent make up and special effects, only to be ruined by the camerawork which went all over the place except staying still and staying focused. The scene involving the spitting out of a needle, and its subsequent aftermath, was perhaps the best in the entire climax, with Andy's inexplicable mad drive into thick foliage being the most bewildering.

While both Abigail Spencer and Katee Sackhoff may be the resident scream queens in this movie, it is perhaps Emily Alyn Lind who steals the show with a fine performance. Child actresses of yesteryear have pretty much grown up now, and who would have thought Emily has already chalked up a couple of impressive roles, and continue to shine despite the lack of depth her character here has, given that she's just a kid, albeit with special abilities. Fans of the first film may want to watch this for completeness sake (a third film in the series has been green lit), but this is largely not a spook fest, with nary a scene that will make you jump at your seat.

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