Once again based on a supposedly true story (which the Blu-ray’s extra features delve into), this unconnected, theater-skipping sequel to 2009’s sleeper hit Haunting in Connecticut takes place in 1993, when the Wyrick family — nary a Virginia Madsen among them — moved from the city of Atlanta to the rural Pine Mountain. An overly coiffed Chad Michael Murray (TV’s One Tree Hill) and a deglammed Abigail Spencer (Oz the Great and Powerful) play parents to an only child, Heidi (Emily Alyn Lind, Enter the Void) who starts to see things in their new home, particularly an old man who looks like kin to Poltergeist II’s Kane.
Heidi’s not the only one seeing things. Her mother, Lisa, does, too, but she has a history of hallucinations, for which she takes prescription drugs. The movie doesn’t do anything with her condition beyond letting it get away with false scares.
A visiting pastor (Lance E. Nichols of TV’s Treme) informs the Wyricks that once upon a (more) racist time, their home was used to hide slaves. While the African-American slavery angle is pretty novel for a horror film — I can think only of 2011’s little-seen The Inheritance — it hardly livens up the picture. Save for a scene in which Lisa’s in-recovery sister (Katee Sackhoff, TV’s Battlestar Galactica) encounters a … to keep things spoiler-free, we’ll call it a “sewing problem,” and another in which little Heidi vomits sawdust and maggots, there’s little going on in the way of thrills.
First-time director Tom Elkins (who edited the first Haunting) keeps cutting between present-day color and sepia-toned flashbacks so quickly that his methods could induce epilepsy. While likely unintended by him and feature-newbie screenwriter David Coggeshall, I couldn’t help but interpret the entire second act as white people desperately wanting to rid their residence of the black ghosts. Lisa’s final-act descent to face the evil contains some imagery of questionable taste; worse, it seems to drag on forever.
The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia isn’t incompetent — just bereft of inspiration and completely disengaged. —Rod Lott