Title – The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Director – James Wan (Saw)
Cast – Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Francis O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney
Plot – Spiritualists Ed and Loraine Warren (Wilson and Farmiga) head to north London in the late 1970’s to help the Hodgson family deal with a particularly evil presence that has latched itself onto the young Janet (Wolfe). What they come up against will be their greatest test yet.
“After everything we’ve seen there isn’t much that rattles either of us anymore. But this one, this one still haunts me”
Review by Eddie on 14/06/216
For Jordan’s take on the film read here.
It’s safe to say that Australian born director James Wan is operating near, if not at the very top of his game as a filmmaker. Instilling his newest addition to the horror genre The Conjuring 2 with an air of confidence only found within directors in charge of their medium, Wan has showcased to Hollywood how a horror sequel is to be done, as well as frightening audience members silly along the merry way.
2013’s The Conjuring was arguably the last truly breakthrough horror (It Follows was too niche to make a huge mark) and Wan infused the based-on-a-true-story of Ed and Loraine Warren’s dealings with the unfortunately haunted Perron family with enough jump scares and memorable horrific moments (clap clap) to fill a dozen other similarly themed productions that it wasn’t hard to see why the film broke out at the box office and with critical receptions, so it’s refreshing to see Wan and his team deliver here with what is an equally impressive outing to the dark depths of supernatural horror.
Opening with an effective murderous re-enactment involving the Warrens, and building the tension of unease to sometimes unbearable levels as we are introduced to the Hodgson’s, whose house on Green Street in England happens to harbor a particularly malevolent spirit known as Bill Wilkins (a name you’re not likely to forget anytime soon) and some very average plumbing, Wan uses the transportation of spirit dealings from America to England to great effect that helps hide the fact he’s not exactly reinventing the wheel with this sequel but doing enough differently that it really does not matter.
Slow burning for a majority of its middle section as young Janet (impressively played by Madison Wolfe) and her family come to terms with their newest family addition, Wan ramps up his tale as the Warren’s arrive on foreign soil and begin to understand the true darkness that they will have to contend with. It’s quite a feat upon consideration at just how much Wan and his team milk from their dark little tale and as Wan’s camera whips and moves around or in one particularly impressive moment stays eerily still on Ed Warren’s face as an important conversation takes place between him and another important player. The film oozes class and character from the actors, the pitch perfect production design of frequent Wan collaborator Julie Berghoff and a return of the first film’s composer Joseph Bishara.
There’s barely a weak link to be found within the film, only a few mildly misjudged scenes (an Elvis crooning session stands out in this regard), a perhaps slightly too long runtime and an occasional sense of Deja-vu as we are introduced to scenes after scenes of haunted toys and swaying rocking chairs but as is to be expected from Wan he produces so many memorable moments and some downright nasty creations that this matters little . The aforementioned Bill, alongside his friends the Crooked Man and a nun you’re not likely to seek a hug from all work together to give The Conjuring 2 a horror-filled good time, whilst the returning Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are as solid as ever as the Warren’s, even when things get a little mawkish between them.
For a horror film that provides consistent and heart racing chills and thrills as well as a fair abundance of scream-out-loud moments, The Conjuring 2 is about as good as it gets. Wan, who doesn’t by any means rewrite the rule book here, deserves full credit for producing yet another above average horror entry and for eking out every last grizzly moment of shock and terror he can from his material, and its likely his tale will become 2016’s most successful and well received horror fable.
4 lounge room singalongs out of 5