The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Director: James Wan
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Madison Wolfe, Frances O’Connor, Lauren Esposito
Even though I heard some positive things about The Conjuring 2, I tend to be cautious going into sequels to hit horror movies. Fortunately under the direction of James Wan, The Conjuring 2 recaptures a lot of what made the first one successful.
It’s hard to knock a horror movie which consistently delivers the scares you want and expect. The Conjuring 2 is a very polished Hollywood studio product and although it’s based on a true story, it never makes me forget that I’m watching a movie. Nor does it make me believe what I’m seeing could actually happen. The rational side of me doesn’t believe in ghosts, but once in a long while I come across a movie that deeply disturbs me enough that I have trouble going to sleep. As creepy as The Conjuring 2 can get, it’s not one of those movies.
In this sequel, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren head to Enfield, England to determine whether poltergeist activity in the home of a single mother and her four children is genuine or is an elaborate hoax. First of all, I really like the husband & wife bond between Ed and Lorraine. There are a few understated scenes that make the two very likable. I find myself rooting for them and caring about what happens to them.
The Hodgson family are also likable and I’m pleased to say that none of the children are annoying. Madison Wolfe’s performance as 11 year old Janet Hodgson is really good. A lot of the story and scares, depends on her ability to sell each scene and she never falters. Another thing that I like is avoiding the cliche where the parent or family does not believe Janet is seeing paranormal activity.
The Conjuring 2 isn’t a slow burn movie where all the good scares are saved at the end. The opening scene establishes the tone quickly and every time a scene is building up to a scare it does not let you down. It’s not necessarily a negative, but I did notice that James Wan repeats the same type of framing sequence numerous times. After a couple of times seeing this pattern, I pretty much know when the jump scares will come. Don’t get me wrong, together with the loud frightening sound, it still gives me the chills.
After the first film, a lot of people were saying that the Annabelle doll was the scariest thing about it. The Conjuring 2 has something else that’s also quite nerve-racking and had me on edge. As for the final act, it could use some tightening up. Perhaps a stronger back story on the evil entity would have been better and to make the ending a bit more fulfilling.
The Conjuring 2 is an entertaining sequel which doesn’t reinvent itself, it gives more of what you’d expect. And even if you didn’t watch the first film, you won’t be at a lost diving straight into this one as it’s a stand alone story. Despite a slight dip in the final act, The Conjuring 2 is good example on how to make a non-gory horror film that’ll appeal to a broad audience. The mood is spooky and the scares come frequently. It’s nothing too traumatizing. The Conjuring 2 didn’t keep me up at night, instead it had me humming the Elvis song that Patrick Wilson sings in this.