February 19, 2013

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (2013)

(aka What Moron Named this Movie?)
Release Date: On VOD now, and in Limited Theatrical release on March 14th.
Country: USA.
Written by: David Coggeshall.
Directed by: Tom Elkins.
Starring: Abigail Spencer, Katee Sackhoff, Chad Michael Murray and Emily Alyn Lind.

I sit here tonight, stunned at my reaction to this movie.

2009's The Haunting in Connecticut was a really well-made film, but it just fell flat as a scary ghost story. It was just a standard, bland, PG-13 effort that was barely memorable.

And so when it was announced that HIC would be getting a sequel, we had two initial reactions: The first was "Oh God, why?" The second, and even stronger reaction, was "Who came up with this moronic title?" *more on that below.

There was just no way that this ill-advised sequel to a lackluster snooze fest like HIC could be good. I wasn't trying to be willfully negative about it, but it was just destined to suck, right?

Well, I'm hardly ever wrong (maybe once a year at most), but in this case I am man enough to admit that I was totally in the wrong. Don't get used to it. Doesn't happen often.

HIC: Ghosts of Georgia is the story of a family who moves into an historic old house in Georgia, only to find that its dark history is still alive and well in the present day, in the form of some pissed-off slave ghosts. And some white ghosts too. There's just a lot of pissed off ghosts of all creeds and colors running around Georgia, apparently.

This ghost is particularly pissed-off.
Lisa Wyrick has been able to see ghosts and touch the spirit world since she was a child. She sees this ability as a curse, and so she does her very best to stay drugged-up so as not to be pestered by unwanted visitors from the Netherworld. Unfortunately for her, her "curse" is hereditary, and her sweet little daughter Heidi sees dead people too. Unfortunately for Heidi, she thinks the dead people are her friends, and so she runs off at all hours of the day and night to play with them... especially the creepy, old ghost of "Mr. Gordy."

Your "friends" are creepy, kid.
As more and more creepy shit happens to the family, they discover that their new home was once a way station for the Underground Railroad, and that its owner, cleverly nicknamed "The Station Master," was a kindly white man who gave runaway slaves a safe haven as they tried to escape to the North. Heidi's new friend, Mr. Gordy, is a descendant of The Station Master, and was ashamed of his Grandfather's well-doing, probably because he's a racist ghost.

Nothin' spells fun better than a good old fashioned Southern Hootenanny!
Long story short, things get more and more creepy for the Wyrick girls, and it's not long before the whole family is in danger. Even the slutty sister who lives out back in her very own trailer (its Georgia, that's how they roll down there) is drawn into the Supernatural melee that goes down. Will little Heidi fall victim to Mr. Gordy and his slave hatin' ways? Will Lisa ever kick her drug habit so that she can actually be of some use to her kid? Is there an even deeper and darker secret beneath it all that will change things for the worse in the end? Far be it from us to spoil things, but we will say that no one is ever safe from the ghosts of angry slaves... or from evil white guys, alive or dead. No one.

That's the scary white guy.
This movie absolutely surprised me. For being one that I thought would make me cringe and sigh for 90+ minutes, Ghosts of Georgia instead managed to do a pretty good job of entertaining me. Big deal, you say? It's is a big deal alright, because as an elitist prick of a film snob, that's no mean feat for a "generic and safe" Horror flick pull off these days.

Yeah, like that flashlight's gonna help.
The film's story was clever and well-structured, and its atmosphere was enjoyably creepy. There were a few moments where I actually felt unsettled, and that too is saying a lot. I don't want to give the impression that this movie was amazing and made me crap myself with fear, but it was solid and fun, none the less. Since this movie is based on a true story, the slavery aspect of things was pretty interesting in its own right as well.

We have to give some credit here to little Emily Alyn Lind, who played one hell of a role. She's a great little actress who I'm sure we'll be seeing more of soon enough. We also have to give some love to both Abigail Spencer and Katee Sackhoff (for obviously different reasons), who were equal parts hot and talented here. Especially Katee; she's kind of like the Queen of Geek for Fanboys everywhere, and we love her. Even Chad Michael Murray was good here, and we always just thought of him as one of the guys from One Tree Hill. Turns out he's pretty likable and talented. Who knew?

Run, kid, it's a zombie! (Nope. Cicely Tyson.)
As much as we enjoyed this movie, we have to recognize that there are some less than desirable elements at play here. The movie starts off a bit slow, and most of the scares in the movie don't happen until the third reel, which may be off-putting to some less than patient viewers. The plot mechanics also feel a bit too familiar and safe at times, mainly because the plot is a genuine mix of both elements. These are relatively minor gripesfor us in this case, but for the more demanding Horror fans out there, they will feel just as genuinely valid.

Creepy kid is creepy.
Why in the hell is the word "Connecticut" even in the title of this movie? The movie doesn't take place in Connecticut, nor does it continue a story that began in Connecticut. Georgian ghosts have nothing to do with Connecticut, especially within the scope of this movie. This movie has nothing to do whatsoever with the state of Connecticut, or any hauntings that have happened therein, and so its title makes ZERO SENSE. None at all.

This isn't part 2 of The Haunting in Connecticut, because this movie has absolutely nothing to do with the first film, save for the fact that Lionsgate wanted it to be related in name so as to be able to start a new series of haunting films.

I think it's pretty pathetic that Lionsgate thinks its audience so fucking stupid that they couldn't make the connect to the first film in this series without using such a misplaced and inappropriately misleading title. 

The/A Haunting in Georgia would have been fine, Lionsgate. Or even The/A Haunting: Ghosts of Georgia would have worked well. Those titles took me all of 12 seconds to come up with, and I'm not even a movie producer. I'm so proud of myself right now for having the tiniest shred of common sense. Go me!

You've been put on notice, Lionsgate... special scary notice!
There are actually some pretty good gore gags in this one, though they are few and far between. For the record, we consider anything that involves people vomiting bugs to be gory, because, eeew.

That scene was pretty awesome and inspired.

Katee wears a tank top damn well, if I do say so myself.
Despite it having one of the dumbest and misleading titles of all time, Ghost of Georgia is a pretty decent ghost flick. You can't go into this one expecting much originality, or to be terrified beyond belief, because if you do you'll come away disappointed. If you are the type of Horror Fan that can enjoy the simpler movies of the genre though, then you may just end up having a pretty good time with this one. Give her a go on VOD if you're sitting around one night and are craving a decent spooker; it's definitely worth the $5.99 rental, and we think you'll like it. *Don't blame us if you don't though. 


Abigail Spencer + Katee Sackhoff = Double Yummy. It's fun to note that both of these tempting little POA's are on two of our favorite TV shows right now; Suits and Longmire, respectively. Not only do both shows rock (in their own way, and for what they are), but who doesn't want to see these Hotties in action on a weekly basis? Check 'em.

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