Thursday, January 30, 2014
Film review: The Haunting in Connecticut 2
I used to be a lot better about staying up to date on new movies, but the fact of the matter is, it's a hell of a lot of work and I sort of gave up the past few months. I have a feeling I'm missing out on a lot by being passive, and waiting for this information to work its way to me via the few channels I still use on a semi-regular basis. So it wasn't until recently that I realized a) The Haunting in Connecticut 2 was out and b) on DVD and c) on Netflix. Yep.
I really liked the first film, I've watched it maybe three or four times now. It's got some of my favorite story themes: spiritualism, haunted house, horror of physical disease, historical content, a mystery demanding to be solved. I find it creepy as hell, and appreciate the hopeful ending. So I gave the sequel a shot, hoping beyond hope.
Here's the upside: Set in the South, still has the historical backstory, creepy faces in windows and hovering ghosts while you sleep. They still go for the kind-of-upbeat ending.
Unfortunately, the story and characters made it much like watching a talented dancer try to pull off the same moves they've done before, get tangled up in their feet, then fall down a flight of stairs.
I don't say that to be unnecessarily mean (sorry filmmakers) it's just the best way I can describe my experience.
I like the story they tried to tell, but I was absolutely flummoxed by the characters, and I think they goofed it up more than anything. Certain parts of the story were drawn out much longer than they should have, in part because the characters were so slow to pick up on important details. Other parts were over in a snap, and I didn't buy how ready they were to gloss over what would normally be a tough sell.
You have a woman who is so in denial about her ability to see spirits that she's popping pills all the time and lounging around in a brooding, melodramatic daze. (And this by the way, might be the reason her daughter keeps running off and getting into danger, because no one is WATCHING HER.) But all of a sudden, the mother flips 180 degrees to have a watered down exorcism done on her child, then continues to ignore and deny that there are spirits trying to talk to her, her sister, and her daughter. The mind boggles.
My point is, there was a lot that was just... off. Reactions that didn't ring true, obvious red flags that everyone seems blissfully unaware of.
In my opinion, this is not essential viewing for those who enjoyed the first film. If you're stuck some night for a film to watch and are in the mood for supernatural, you could do worse. A high tolerance for confusing character behavior will go a long way in this case, though.