- on Sunday, 04 September 2016 12:30
- by Loron Hays
He’s baaack! Thank the Maker for director James Wan because he knows how to navigate a film through one hell of a frightmare, complete with creaks and groans and ghouls and dark, dark shadows. Everything you expect to see in a scary movie he inexplicable makes new again. Few moments about The Conjuring 2 come across as standard. For ghostly sequels, this is a damn good thing.
Now an arguable franchise (with its own disappointing spinoff), The Conjuring series – based on the haunted investigations of Lorraine and Ed Warren (played expertly here once again by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) – gets another round of hauntings to investigate. Trust me, this film will not be the last we see of them either. As a team, they are that good in their roles and, overall, there’s little dip in the quality here.
The Conjuring 2 is every bit as creepy as its original entry and, with a change in location from rural Rhode Island to a borough of Enfield in North London, provides enough differences in story and setting and quiet charm to be an engaging white-knuckled experience.
Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor), a single mother with four children, has no one to turn to when she discovers that things literally do go bump in the night in her North London home. Her Enfield council house is filled with malicious spirits that seem to be centering around her daughter. Janet (Madison Wolfe whose performance as the plagued little girl is very strong indeed) receives the full blunt of the poltergeist activity in the home. But when the other children – including Margaret (Lauren Esposito), Billy (Benjamin Haigh) and Johnny (Patrick McAuley) – also begin to experience things and the neighbors seem unconcerned, she reaches out across the pond and brings in the Warrens to help ease the family’s collective discomfort.
The real case files of the Warrens – featured in some of the promotional material for the film and during the closing credits – confirm that this is indeed a demonic possession. Spooky stuff. And the tense film never once eases up on its grip once all hell breaks loose. While it is familiar in its set-up, you just might pee yourself all over again. The film isn’t rushed and remains firmly locked in 1977, months after The Amityville Horror happening, which opens the movie and sets several storylines loose for us to catch up on later. This is both interesting and clever.
Screenwriters Carey Hayes & Chad Hayes & James Wan and David Leslie Johnson might not completely buy the possessed stories the Warrens are telling, but they do know how to make YOU believe them. They ease up on the rote jump scares and let the film – after a séance in the beginning which serves as our introduction to the main demon flittering about in this tale – settle into its pace and roll out into an effective experience of horror.
But what would the film be if the couple at the center of it – Farminga and Wilson – had no chemistry together? It’d be a wagon without a horse. The heart of the narrative is seeing and believing that this investigative team – a married couple, how shocking! – really do care about one another. This, ultimately, is their story and that’s why the film works on so many levels.
We care about the Warrens. And it’s this reason that makes The Conjuring 2 such a success as a tale of haunted possession. Tensions rise when this couple is put directly in harm’s way. Ultimately, it is a worthy and intelligent sequel that – in the era of threequels and more – absolutely earns every last dime of your hard earned money. Hell, pop some popcorn and enjoy this one.
But don’t watch it alone.
MPAA Rating: R for terror and horror violence
Runtime: 134 mins
Director: James Wan
Writer: Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe
Tagline: The next true story from the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren
Memorable Movie Quote: "Valak! In the power of God , Jesus, and the holy spirit I condemm you back to hell!"
Distributor: new Line Cinema
Official Site: http://www.theconjuring2.com/
Release Date: June 10, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: September 13, 2016
Synopsis: The supernatural thriller brings to the screen another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.
Available on Blu-ray - September 13, 2016
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese
Subtitles: English, Latin Spanish, Parisian French, Brazilian Portuguese
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A
Warner Bros presents The Conjuring 2’s 1080p transfer with an exemplary 2.40:1 widescreen presentation. The visuals remain sharp and clean in both light and dark scenes. Shot on hi-def video, the movie retains a filmic look throughout. Hues are stylistically a bit saturated and faces are generally warm. Lots of nice details are packed in each frame. Shadows are expressive and deep. Black levels are strong throughout. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio commands more notice than the taken-for-granted visual strength. The enveloping sound design produces an engaging experience. The booming bass reaches glass-rattling heights at a relatively low volume; solid looking and sounding stuff. At times, don’t be surprised if the sound is a bit scarier than the movie; it’s by design.
Warner Bros dropped the ball with the first film and the second one is only a notch above. There are a bit more offerings this time out, including a look at the real haunting of the soundstage where the film was shot, but they are too short and too brief and add little to the experience of the movie. There’s a collection of deleted scenes and a behind the scenes look at the making of the movie. A brief look at the design of the Crooked Man in also included. Rounding out the collection is the best supplemental item which goes inside the actual haunting the movie is based upon.
- The Enfield Poltergeist: Living The Horror
- The Conjuring 2: Hollywood’s Haunted Stage
- Creating Crooked
- Crafting The Conjuring 2
- Sounds of Scary
- Deleted Scenes