Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A 2-4-1 Special of "A Haunting In..." Films

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A 2-4-1 Special of “Haunting in...” Films

By: Brian Cotnoir

     Well it’s October; the month of Halloween.  So I decided to treat you all to a Two-For-One Special of “Haunting In...” Films.  Ever since the release of the “Paranormal Activity” films, there has been a rise of films trying to be just like it.  The films that claim to be “Inspired by Actual Events” that followed an alleged Haunting that began afflicting the family and how the family eventually overcame the “Haunting”.   We’ve gotten “Paranormal Entity”, “The Devil Inside”, “Grave Encounters”, “Insidious”, “The Haunting in Connecticut”, “The Conjuring”, and whole bunch of other films that are trying to be like “Paranormal Activity”.  Once again, these were all “Inspired by Actual Events”, and while the films may have been “inspired” by these “actual events”, they typically succumb to typical Hollywood writing with exaggeration to the plot and a “Happy Ending”.  So get ready to listen to me talk about two “Haunting In...” films that were released in 2013 that I watched.  Enjoy.

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: The Ghosts of Georgia

     First things first—and I have to get this off my chest—this is the Worst Title for a Film Ever!  The films not even set in Connecticut, nor does anyone reference the State of Connecticut. So why bother calling it “The Haunting in Connecticut 2”?  To me the smart thing to do would have been to call the film “The Haunting in Georgia”.  There now that I’ve got that off my chest, let me talk to y’all about the film.                           
    So I actually enjoyed “The Haunting in Connecticut” when I first saw it.  Growing up my family and I camped a lot in Eastern Connecticut, and my best friend from college is actually from Connecticut, so I spent a lot of time there.  I actually got to meet a “Demonologist” (John Zaffis) who came to my College who actually met with the family who were the inspiration for “The Haunting in Connecticut”.  He showed us pictures of the house and told us stories about what happened there.   “The Haunting Connecticut” was good, but it wasn’t phenomenal.  So when I heard about this sequel to the film, I assumed it was going to be as bad its title.  Well actually, you might be surprised.                                            
So the film is set in Georgia in 1993 and it follows a family who movies from the big city in Atlanta out to the country backwoods.  Shortly, after moving to their home the family’s young daughter Heidi begins to claim that she’s seeing ghosts.  The mother thinks that her daughter just has an over-active imagination, but her Aunt tells her that she was born with a power that she inherited through her mom and grandmother; the ability to see ghosts.  The family eventually learns that their property was actually a Station on the “Underground Railroad”, and that the original landowners, The Gordy’s, were beloved “stationmasters”.  However, the families Pastor tells them that the last member of The Gordy family who owned the property was not a very a nice man.  The longer the family stays on the property the more and more ghost sightings appear.  They are mostly ghosts of old slaves, but one night another ghost appears, known as “The Bad Man”, who is trying to make sure that Heidi’s family doesn’t discover his hidden secret.                 
Oi vei, he's a baddy!
    So like in “The Haunting in Connecticut”, most of the scares “The Haunting in Connecticut 2” are jump scares, and while there aren’t as many in the sequel as there were in the original, they still managed to make me jump a few times.  I actually enjoyed the story in “The Haunting in Connecticut 2” better than the original.  There was a lot of mystery and great build up to the story; I mean you could never fully predict what direction the film was going in.  It had a pretty dark story, with lots of mystery, and found it to be very enjoyable.  The acting ranges from mediocre to good, but there wasn’t one actor in this film that was just awful.  If you enjoyed “The Haunting in Connecticut” than I believe that you will also enjoy “The Haunting in Connecticut 2: The Ghosts of Georgia”.

A Haunting in Silver Falls

Another “Haunting In...” film that came out in 2013 was “A Haunting in Silver Falls”.  Like “The Haunting in Connecticut 2” it also boasts “Inspired by Actual Events” at the beginning of the film.  The funny thing is, I tried researching the actual events the film was “inspired” by, and nothing came up.  I was able to find plenty of information about the family in “The Haunting in Connecticut 2” (articles, documentaries, etc.), but nothing came up when I typed in “A Haunting in Silver Falls”, so I have no clue as to what events this film was inspired by.  So the film is set in the Pacific Northwest, there are a bunch of local legends that the town is “Ghost City, USA”.  A young girl named Jordan has moved in with her Aunt & Uncle after her father died from leukemia (her mother drowned herself when she was 5).  Jordan finds a ring out in the woods one night and once she puts it on she begins to see ghosts.  Jordan’s Aunt and Uncle begin to suspect that she may be having some sort of breakdown, or could Silver Falls possibly be living up to its title of “Ghost City, USA”.                                           
Holy Shnikes!  A likable Female Protagonist! :)
   So I like the character Jordan.  She was very different from what I was expecting.  You know just from her characters background story, you’d expect her to be the angsty, angry teenager who rebels, and lashes out at everyone who tries to get close to her because she’s bitter at the world, but she was nothing like that.  Jordan is a very low-maintenance character.  She’s sensible, she’s kind, she’s appreciative of those who try to help her, and she’s just an all around likeable character.  I have to applaud the films screenwriter for not writing her as a cliché angsty teenager.  This film breaks a lot of clichés that we typically see in this film genre, and it’s pretty enjoyable at times, but there was still a lot of aspects in this film that didn’t make sense.      
It took some risks, and some of them worked, and others did not.  Did I enjoy this film?  I thought it was okay, but would I recommend it, no.  I don’t think I would.  It’s not the worst thing I’ve seen, but there are just so many things about it that made me scratch my head, especially towards the end when the film shows that the director and crew clearly stopped giving a f*ck and all the questions you had, were left unanswered and left you only asking more questions.

     I’m anxious to see how long film studios are going to keep pushing out these “Haunting In...” films that were allegedly inspired by actual events.  How long will studios continue to try to rip off or outshine “Paranormal Activity”.  For every good “Haunting In…” film that studios release it seems like we’re getting 4 films like “The Conjuring”.  The only thing left is to wait this out and see if this film genre will continue to be dominant or if it is to be the latest Horror plot cliché. 

1 comment:

  1. Good review, hats off to an actually likeable heroine! It seems like this whole trend is a rehash of the same "haunting in" movies in the 70's that ripped off Amityville. But hey, I'll take it over Saw and Human Centipede any day.