There’s an obstinate, willfully obtuse, part of me that wonders why this film has to be called The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts Of Georgia when the original The Haunting In Georgia would have sufficed. Of course I know the business and franchise maintenance logic behind it, but if these are intended to be standalone stories – as this one very much is – then hobbling it with an association to an entirely unrelated state sort of makes the whole thing a punchline before you even have a chance to watch the movie. It lays bare the cynicism behind the film’s existence – “it’s just a product, what don’t you understand?”
All of this is a long way of saying that Ghosts Of Georgia has very little to do with The Haunting In Connecticut save for the fact that they’re two ghost stories ostensibly based on real events. And while the machinery that pumped this movie into our corporeal world might be cynical, the film itself is surprisingly warm-hearted. This, unfortunately, is just about its only redeeming factor but it goes a long way towards making the film tolerably watchable if not exactly “good.”
Ghosts Of Georgia concerns the Wyrick family who, shortly after moving into a new home, begin to experience strange phenomena on their property. Young Heidi [Emily Alyn Lind] has the “gift” of being able to see some of these apparitions, an ability that delights her spunky aunt Joyce [Katee Sackhoff] and panics sensible mom Lisa [Abigail Spencer]. Chad Michael Murray’s Andy is also onhand, but mainly to do nondescript “manly” things in an affable manner. This isn’t really his fight.
In a break from the norm for a lot of lower budget horror fare, the Wyricks are actually a decent family to the point where you don’t mind spending time with them as a viewer. Not to say that we’re talking rich characterization here, the script (like everything else in the film) is almost comically rote, but it goes a long way as sort of an anesthetic towards the rest of the movie – which would be pure torture otherwise.
The film is clumsily paced and confused about its objective. It wants to scare you, but doesn’t want to upset you. It wants the southern gothic air of legitimacy but can’t be bothered with the discipline required to evoke such a thing consistently. Ghosts Of Georgia also tries for a little bit of social awareness and pathos by having its ghosts be victims of an underground railroad arrangement gone awry, but by muddling the intent of the railroad’s founder, Mr. Gordy, it squanders any potential thematic heft.
For a film that reportedly cost $9 Million, Georgia looks astoundingly cheap – which doesn’t at all help the flat and uninteresting material. It’s heart might be in the right place, but it runs out of gas miles and miles before it can get there. It’s a boring, ramshackle slog buoyed slightly by its likable lead performers.