DIRECTOR: James Wan
David Leslie Johnson
Maria Doyle Kennedy
During an investigation of the Amityville house. Lorraine Warren has a premonition that sees her husband, Ed killed by a demonic spirit. After she witnesses, the tragic premonition at Amityville. Ed and Lorraine Warren are called to investigate a case in Enfield, North London where a single mother and her four children are being plagued by a malevolent spirit who has attached itself to one of her children.
The Conjuring 2 is the rare example of a sequel which manages to come close or be anywhere in the same league as the original movie. Some would even say that this sequel manages to surpass the original. The Conjuring 2 had big shoes to fill coming after the brilliant first film. The original was a fantastic haunted house spookfest that relied more on slow-building tension than jump scares and bloody gore and violence. Director James Wan managed to deliver one of the best horror movies of the current decade with The Conjuring.
James Wan has built a career in genre cinema that has solidified him as a master of the genre. With his debut Saw which saw him help start the 'Torture Porn' craze, he became a household name. He followed it up with the creepy doll movie Dead Silence and the brutally violent revenge thriller Death Sentence. Both fell short when it came to critics. It wasn't until he returned to the scene with his micro-budget Insidious and the original The Conjuring which basically confirmed all along that he's a force to be reckoned with when it comes to building dread and suspense.
I will start this review by getting the negatives out of the way. The most prominent issue that I had with the sequel was its lengthy running time. I don't think I'm the first person or will I be the last who claims that the long running time is where this film suffers the most. The running time sits at 2 hours and 14 minutes. This is a very long movie. There are moments here where the film sadly does drag, and I believe a few cuts could've improved the flow of the film.
The only other negative I found with The Conjuring 2 were some of the visual effects. I know we are watching a supernatural horror film and some suspension of disbelief is required. I also can appreciate that the filmmaker and writers also take liberties with the 'True Accounts' of what Ed and Lorraine Warren witnessed in the investigations to make the movie scarier. It's now well known that the effects were all practically done on camera. Watching this a year down the track, there is something still not right with the effects. Practical or not, they still took me out of the film.
Now onto the positives of The Conjuring 2. We'll begin with our two main characters, Ed and Lorraine Warren. Having these two people as the movie's protagonists makes the movie easily loveable and widely beloved. We are now two films into this franchise and there is not one unlikeable quality about either of them. Every choice made by Ed or Lorraine feels truthful and warranted. These two are the warmth and heart of the series and every single time the characters face any type of danger. I am rooting for them to make it out safely.
I believe that our love for these two people comes down to the brilliant performances from Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. Both of them have such great chemistry that I believe every trial and tribulation that these two characters face. If anyone ever came to me and stated that the horror genre is filled with bad acting. I would simply point them in this direction of this movie and recommend The Conjuring films as a point of reference to prove everyone wrong.
Frances O'Connor who plays Peggy Hodgson, a single mother and Madison Wolfe who plays Janet Hodgson her possessed daughter also deliver fantastic performances. We also have smaller roles from the great Franka Potente who plays a sceptic and one of the most unlikeable characters in the film. Simon McBurney who also delivers a great performance. The entire cast is exceptional and delivers quality performances. These are not one performance in the film that I can fault.
The sequel luckily turns out to deliver just as many thrills and chills as the original. While we have no major set piece like the 'Hide and Seek/Clapping Game' scene that became the most publicized and talked about scene from the original as a reference point for how terrifying the first film was, We still have a lot of creepy and suspenseful scenes throughout. The films main villain 'The Nun' is one of the creepiest creations that horror cinema has seen in a very long time.
Lastly, on a cinematography level, I think The Conjuring 2 looks just as gorgeous as the first movie. This is slick and effortless filmmaking from James Wan. The way that James Wan uses the camera to pan up over walls or through open windows and any other neat little trick at his disposal is fantastic. Minus a few dodgy enhancements used to create our villains, the cinematography is one of the most solid elements of the film. James Wan really is a brilliant filmmaker and can deliver a gorgeous film regardless of the budget he is given.
DEATH TOLL: 5
BLOOD AND GORE:
- People are gunned down in their sleep.
- A premonition of someone being impaled.
- Someone is bitten by a ghost.
- A child is suffocated by a curtain but survives.
- Someone has their face burnt by hot steam.
The Conjuring 2 manages to be a worthy follow-up to the original. It's rare to find a sequel in the realm of horror that can compete with the original. While The Conjuring 2 has a few dodgy visual effects and a generously long running time, the sequel still manages to deliver a lot of chills, suspense and some of the creepiest villains horror cinema has seen this decade. If we get a third Conjuring movie that manages to be as good as the first two, you may be looking at one of the greatest horror trilogies in horror cinema.