REVIEW: THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA

 

CAST

Abiigail Spencer (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Chad Michael Murray (Agent Carter)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Emily Alyn Lind (Lights Out)

The film is set in 1993. Andy and Lisa Wyrick, along with their daughter Heidi, move into a rural home after receiving a deal from the bank. They are told that no one had previously lived on the land, which is why they are getting such a great deal. Shortly after moving in, Heidi begins to experience visions. After a visit from Lisa’s sister Joyce, it is revealed that Heidi, along with her mother, aunt, and grandmother, was born with a veil over her face, allowing the women of the family to have visions. Joyce embraces her visions, but Lisa tries to prevent them with the help of medication to no avail as she begins to have nightmares and visions of her mother.One of Heidi’s visions is of a man she calls Mr. Gordy, who tells her things to prove his existence, such as money being buried in the garden, and a swing being deep in the woods. When these things turn out to be true, it is revealed that Mr. Gordy had in fact owned the house before the Wyricks. To test Heidi’s knowledge, Joyce and Lisa do some research and ask Heidi to pick Mr. Gordy out of a bunch of old photos, which she does. Lisa begins to have visions of a figure coming after her and her daughter and starts to worry about the sanity of herself and that of her daughter, which leads her to tell Heidi not to speak to Mr. Gordy anymore.One day, the family receives a visit from the local pastor, who tells them that their property was once part of the Underground Railroad and that a stationmaster lived on their land. He tells them of all the good that the stationmaster brought about and warns the family that they may get some visitors wishing to pay homage to the stationmaster, and asks them to be kinder than the previous owner, Mr. Gordy, was.Andy comes home with a dog for Heidi named Chief, trying to alleviate some of the tension that has built up in their family since moving into the new house, but soon after Chief follows something into the woods. When Andy and Heidi go to look for him, they can hear him crying from the woods and find him trapped in a snare. Andy tells Lisa that the snares would have been perfect for a taxidermist, because they would catch and kill animals without leaving a mark. While destroying the snares to prevent Chief from getting caught again, Andy finds Heidi talking to someone who is not there. When he asks her about it, she says that Mr. Gordy says that some people are coming. These people turn out to be Mama Kay and her grandson who buy a quilt from Joyce that she had found at the old station. Mama Kay tells Heidi that she is special and to be careful of what she sees, while her grandson tells Andy the true story of the stationmaster. He was primarily a taxidermist and would enlist the help of guides called Conductors to help guide slaves to a meeting place. He would hold them somewhere secret, then when it was safe, he would move them to the next location. Two of the slaves he had hidden were Mama Kay’s ancestors, Nell and Levi, but they were never heard from after they stopped at the station. When the townspeople found out about his involvement, they blindfolded him, filled his abdomen with stuffing and hung him from the tree where the swing once was that Heidi had seen.Andy relays this information to Joyce and Lisa, who then relays it to Heidi, but tells her that the stationmaster was a good man and helped a lot of people. When Heidi insists that an evil exists in the woods, Lisa becomes frustrated and tells her that she cannot believe her because she cares about her and orders Heidi to get out of the bathtub. When Heidi takes too long, Lisa returns to the bathroom as the lights flicker. The stationmaster is seen standing next to Lisa as Heidi is face down in the bathtub. Lisa pulls her out and attempts to heimlick the water from her lungs, only for Heidi to cough up sawdust and insects. Concerned, the family takes Heidi to the hospital, where her story is questioned. Heidi seems to have no memory of what happened and tells the doctor that when she didn’t get out of the tub like she was supposed to, her mom pulled her out of the tub really hard, making it even harder to believe Lisa’s story. As Lisa is leaving, Heidi tells her that it is hard when people don’t believe you, indicating that she knew what she was doing.Later, the family asks the pastor to come out and bless the land and Heidi. During the blessing, Joyce experiences frightening visions of slaves being taken to the station by the stationmaster, along with the conductors, and she sees the bodies of her family members decomposing during the blessing. That night Heidi follows a ghost out of her house, who turns out to be Nell. She leads her out into the woods, where she disappears. Meanwhile, Lisa is having nightmares and awakens to find out that Heidi is missing and Andy runs out into the woods to look for her. Somehow, Heidi falls to the bottom of the station and begs her father not to leave her down there with “them”, but she is alone. In a frantic attempt to rescue his daughter, Andy reveals a heavy slab covering the entrance, which leads him to wonder how Heidi got down there and he realizes that is where the stationmaster hid the slaves and Heidi reveals the “them” she was talking about were corpses that had been forgotten. When the stationmaster was murdered, there was no one to let the slaves out and they died in the station. Heidi tells her father that she thinks something else is in the station too. She tells her family that she wishes to leave the house. Joyce tells her that she released the spirits and that the bad things are gone, but Heidi insists that Mr. Gordy told her she let something bad out. When Andy takes his daughter’s side, it causes a rift between him and Lisa. Lisa tells Heidi that the stationmaster was a good man, to which Heidi replies, “No he wasn’t”.Andy decides that the family will leave because he doesn’t want Lisa filling Heidi’s head with the idea that she is sick and needs to be on medication. As they are packing up to leave, the ghost of the stationmaster can be seen watching them. Joyce decides to stay and the ghosts of the slaves alert her to the stationmaster’s presence. She sees him walking towards Heidi and when she attempts to warn her niece, the stationmaster turns his attention on her. Joyce coughs up a needle and begins to become sutured from the inside. Meanwhile, Lisa notices that Heidi has disappeared from the truck and she decides to check Joyce’s trailer. She finds her sister strung from the ceiling and cuts the sutures just before the stationmaster is able to get them. When Lisa asks her sister where Heidi is, Joyce replies that “they know”, which leads Lisa to accept her visions. She follows the guidance of the conductor’s ghost, which leads her to the station. There, she finds a hidden door and discovers many animals that had been stuffed by the stationmaster. It is revealed that the stationmaster had kept many slaves and stuffed them for his own keeping, including Nell, Levi, and the conductor. She finds Heidi tied to the stationmaster’s table and when she attempts to escape with her daughter, she finds the way blocked, except by going straight up through the ground. Heidi begins to climb and then is pulled up through the ground. When Lisa attempts to follow her, she is pulled back down by the stationmaster. She is confronted by the ghost, but experiences a vision of her mother who tells her to “let them in”. She finally embraces her visions and finds out that the Stationmaster had told Nell, Levi, and the Conductor that he would be back for them, but traps them instead, leaving them to starve so that he could stuff them. Learning the truth, it allows their spirits to be freed and have their vengeance on the Stationmaster. The Stationmaster’s death is visited, but instead of it being the townspeople who murder him, it is the spirits of all those he had killed. This allows Lisa to escape and the Stationmaster’s spirit to be destroyed. It is then revealed that the person who had pulled Heidi through the ground was actually the spirit of Mr. Gordy, who had been the Stationmaster’s descendent and had been there to act as a protector to the Wyrick family.Two weeks later, Andy attempts to hang a tire swing for Heidi. Lisa and Joyce speculate about why Mr. Gordy hadn’t wanted people on his land and come to the conclusion that he wanted his ancestor to be remember for the good that he did and not the bad. Meanwhile, Heidi is struggling to ride her bike when it suddenly straightens up. She turns around to see Mr. Gordy and he sends her off to ride happily where she sees the spirits of Nell, Levi, and the Conductor heading off into the woods, finally free. She turns around and sees Mr. Gordy waving goodbye to her before he turns and walks away into the afterlife, satisfied that the Wyricks were safe.In a text epilogue, it is revealed that the Wyricks remained in that house for another five years, Lisa’s visions have not returned, and that Heidi never saw Mr. Gordy again. The final shot shows photos of the real-life Heidi and Mr. Gordy, and then the entire Wyrick family.The Haunting in Connecticut 2 is a good supernatural tale that should have been released in theatre’s like its predecessor. There are nice twists to the story, the acting is good, and the scares are genuinely creepy.

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REVIEW: THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT

CAST

Virginia Madsen (Sideways)
Martin Donovan (Ant-Man)
Elias Koteas (Crash)
Kyle Gallner (Smallville)
Amanda Crew (Sex Drive)
Spohpi Knight (Rookie Blue)

In 1987, Sara Campbell (Virginia Madsen) is driving her son Matthew (Kyle Gallner) home from the hospital where he has been undergoing cancer treatments. Sara and her husband Peter (Martin Donovan), a recovering alcoholic, discuss finding a rental house closer to the hospital. On another hospital visit, Sara finds a man putting up a “For Rent” sign in front of a large house. The man is frustrated and offers her the first month free if she will rent it immediately. The following day, Peter arrives with Matt’s brother Billy (Ty Wood) and cousins Wendy (Amanda Crew) and Mary, and they choose rooms. Matt chooses the basement, where there is a mysterious door. After moving in, Matt suffers a series of visions involving an old, bearded man and corpses with symbols carved into their skin. The next day, Peter learns that the house was supposedly a funeral home; the room behind the mysterious door is a mortuary.Matt tells another patient, Reverend Nicholas Popescu (Elias Koteas), about the visions. Nicholas advises him to find out what the spirit wants. Later, Matt finds a burned figure in his room who begins to move toward him. When the family comes home, they find a shirtless Matt with his fingers blood-covered from scratching at the wall.The family begins to crack under the stress of Matt’s illness and bizarre behavior. The children find a box of photographs, which show Jonah, a young man from Matt’s visions, at a séance, emitting ectoplasm. Wendy and Matt find out that the funeral home was run by a man named Ramsey Aickman. Aickman also conducted psychic research and would host séances with Jonah as the medium. At one séance, all those attending, including Aickman, were found dead and Jonah disappeared.Nicholas theorizes that Aickman was practicing necromancy in an attempt to control the dead and bind them to the house. That night, Nicholas finds human remains in the house and removes them. Matt awakens to find Aickman’s symbols carved into his flesh. He is taken to the hospital, where he encounters Jonah. Nicholas and Matt begin to have simultaneous visions. Everyone in the séance is burnt, after a flash of bright light. The barely alive Aickman told Jonah to get out of the house, concerned that the demonic presence will get him next. Jonah uses a dumbwaiter to escape, calling for help. Entering an unknown chamber, Jonah realizes that he has entered the crematory. The spirit traps Jonah in the crematory, and cremates him alive.Peter and Sara learn that Matt’s cancer treatments have had no effect. They then discover that Matt has escaped the hospital. Back at the house, Nicholas leaves a message telling the family to get out of the house immediately – Jonah’s spirit was actually protecting them from the spirits. Matt breaks through the walls in the front room with an axe, revealing the dusty corpses Aickman hid in the walls. He forces Wendy and the children to get out, barricading himself inside and tearing down the other walls, as corpses begin to tumble into the room. The view switches from Matt to Jonah, who seems to be occupying Matt’s body. Matt lights the bodies and the room on fire.As the fire department arrives, Sara and Peter frantically try to get in to save Matt. The spirits, finally freed, disappear. Outside, everyone watches tearfully as the emergency crew attempts to resuscitate a dying Matt. As Matt slips away, he has a vision of himself standing in the graveyard where he sees Jonah, no longer appearing burnt. He seems about to follow Jonah when he hears his mother’s voice.He returns to his body and Jonah’s spirit leaves him. Matt’s cancer disappears, and the house was rebuilt and resold with no further reported incidents of haunting.While there are some questions that may not be answered, the story itself was more than satisfying. Special effects were kept to a minimum but used effectively and when needed. Acting was not Oscar worthy but good enough to make it all seem real. Fun when you want it and scary when you need it.