It wasn’t a surprise that after the critical and box office success from the 2013 feature, that a sequel would come along. There’s only so much you can do with haunting’s and scaring audiences but this follow up still possesses a genuine creepiness like the first one and through a, perhaps overly long movie it maintains a chill factor.
Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are trying to remain away from haunting’s after Lorraine sees a horrific vision. Over in Enfield, London a family realise their Green Street residence is harbouring a menacing spirit who takes a liking to young Janet (Madison Wolfe). The scares rack up leading the Warren’s to hear of the case and travel to England in search of the truth.
By now I’m sure the majority of movie goers have grown accustomed to horror films and the cliches that roll with them. I’d be lying if I said ‘The Conjuring 2’ doesn’t have them, but they’re minor nuisances compared to the rest of the spine-rattling narrative. Forget the A Level empty swings, moving toys and false scares because what I like about this and the initial Conjuring is they try looking different. Ideas feel thought over and some may say it makes the film slower, it actually helps coat the eeriness in an extra layer of bone-cold drama.
Where other films suffer by having too many writers, surprisingly this one manages to keep it’s head above the tide. Four people are on board for this horror screenplay and luckily it doesn’t make the script stuffed over breaking point. There are a couple of moments it feels like ideas tug back and forth but everything feels consistent, thought through and agreeable. They mix in the real life cases of Amityville and the Enfield Haunting with dark dreams and nightmarish nuns that the film ticks the big scare box well.
James Wan is back directing and thankfully, unlike the messy un-scary directing of spin-off ‘Annabelle’, this is a showcase of how to create a horror outing that harks back to the good days of ghostly movies not needing of jump scares and loud music. There is of course some sudden loud noises but mostly Wan must be credited for working on a film with beautiful transitions, smart sequences and clever story-telling. The dog moment, the Crooked Man, the painting set-piece, the crosses on the wall and more little visuals help this paranormal themed picture more than just a cheap horror.
What is done very well with this sequel, is the connection to characters. We buy into the home and lives of the Hodgson family and begin doubting things near the latter half, even after everything we’ve seen which is a strong positive. The story does a great job in keeping a level of dread which we feel towards the fate’s of the Warren’s, a very last scene in the Hodgson house keeps you teetering as you wonder what might happen to characters.
Vera Farmiga is an enticing presence to watch, that goes with everything I’ve seen her in. As Lorraine she really embodies the part of hopeful wise warrior of demons, the added notion of fear she has for her world and her love is brilliantly acted. Patrick Wilson gets a cool scene in the spotlight as he communicates with the controlled daughter with his back turned, he’s confident but not too macho that it’s dumb…his rendition of an Elvis song is also well placed amongst the film. Madison Wolfe is a sharp young talent, her facial ticks, the first moments she puts on a voice and her constant look of fear helps us realise the true nature of what this house has in store.
The film could have been snipped shorter, it may have been interesting to end the film on a big hoax or not question and aside from a little dropping of cliches, this sequel goes to show how a horror film can still be masterful, jumpy and effective.