Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Peering into Murky Woods with The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia: A Movie Review

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Director: Tom Elkins.

Writer: David Coggeshall.

Cast: Abigail Spencer, Morgana Shaw, Emily Alyn Lind, Chad Michael Murray, Grant James, and Katee Sackhoff.

The first thing people notice about The Haunting in Connecticut: Ghosts of Georgia is its unwieldy title. This title is obscenely long and it offers contradictory information. A sequel to the 2009 film A Haunting in Connecticut, this second film deals with a family moving into a new house. Obviously, spirits reside there. And, this is Tom Elkins first film as director. As well, many of the producers from the first film (Paul Brooks, Jeff Levine) return for this next entry. The crew brings together a competent production, which is dramatically driven by David Coggeshall's compelling script. There is a lot to take in with Ghosts of Georgia and horror fans will find lots to enjoy with this piece.

The supposed true story begins with the Wyrick family. They have left Atlanta for the quietness of rural Georgia. The woods of Georgia are not very quiet, however. Spirits move about in the woods. The protagonist and mother, Lisa (Abigail Spencer), is able to see these ghosts as she has a family gift. Daughter, Heidi (Emily Alyn Lind), and sister, Joyce (Katee Sackhoff), also share the ability to see supernatural events. Unfortunately, this trio is not gifted with foresight. And soon, Heidi is falling down tunnels, Joyce is harnessed by an unseen entity and husband, Andy (Chad Michael Murray), has to deal with a whole slew of trespassers: both real and paranormal. These strange going-ons are the remnants of an underground railroad, which involved the passing of slaves in the 19th Century. Let the ghostly fireworks begin!

The film has many solid elements. Michael Wandmacher's score is truly affective. The soundtrack, initially, begins with softer tones, but it becomes more frenetic as the action onscreen increases. The climax is well scored and the music is one of the film's strongest attributes.

The performances from the cast are also well delivered. The young actress Emily Alyn Lind is effective in her role as Heidi. Lind is able to deliver many emotions including: fear, curiousity and excitment with a youthful charm. As well, Chad Michael Murray (House of Wax) plays a believable father. He does his best to keep his family together, while facing constant challenges in a pro-active way. The minor character Joyce also brings some charm to the film, with Abigail Spencer portraying true emotion through her damaged character. All of the performances in the film are well-shot and expertly delivered.

The writing for the film is the strongest element. Coggeshall's script brings many historical elements to this piece. Set in 1993, the film journeys back to the mid-1800s through flashbacks. The minor writing plot points found here have been tried in other films, but they are given a slight twist. Those unburied attempt to help the protagonists dispel an evil force, which looks something reminiscent of Victor Salva's Creeper (Jeepers Creepers). Also, the characters are well drawn out. Yet, the based on a true story line is almost comical in the horror genre, at this point. This title is not based in reality, despite some late attempts in the feature to link this film's characters to real people. The evidence suggests Ghosts of Georgia is fiction. It would be hard to imagine otherwise. Yet, every other writing element is well-crafted, from the characters to well delivered ending.

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia is an exciting horror tale, which released on video-on-demand February 1st. This title has some strong film elements that work together to create a solid first outing from Elkins. Already, there is a third title being produced in this series, named The Haunting in New York. And, this reviewer hopes this sequel will match some of the excellence found in Ghosts of Georgia.

Overall: 7.25 out of 10 (some predictability, well drawn characters, story driven, a powerful conclusion).

One of the film's fan pages is here:

The Haunting in Connecticut 2 on Facebook

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