The original Conjuring movie is an absolute masterpiece. Its pacing, story, characters, and effects elevate it above so many other films in the supernatural sub-genre of horror. Its prequel film, Annabelle, completely missed the mark a year later. Can The Conjuring 2 prove that a worthy sequel to the phenomenal movie is possible?
Much like its predecessor, The Conjuring 2 is a haunted house film following a case file of husband and wife paranormal investigators Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren. The film takes place in England and recounts the Enfield Poltergeist incident. It also includes a sub-plot around another haunting factor.
Lorraine has a seance at the Amityville house to discover if Ronald DeFeo, Jr. was in control when murdering his family, or if something otherworldly was. This leads her towards a demonic being disguised as a nun, a creature that would haunt her for years to come. The pair decide to take a break from their paranormal investigations as Lorraine was worried about the vision she saw and fears it as a warning.
Across the pond in Enfield, England, we see the events of a new haunting beginning to take shape. The Hodgson family are having a hard time, as the husband left, which means Peggy has to work two jobs to support her four children. One of the daughters, Janet, begins having night terrors about an old man. These events soon manifest themselves into physical activities and spread to the rest of the family.
The Catholic Church (I presume – it’s only called The Church), wanting to distance themselves from the supposed haunting if it’s a hoax, ask the Warrens to investigate and see if they can find any proof at all. If they do, then the Church can intervene and take matters further. And so we watch the events unfold around the Enfield Poltergeist incident.
The Conjuring 2’s story is comparable to that of the first movie in terms of structure, even if it does play things a bit too safe. There are a number of scares to keep you on the edge of your seat, especially those you know are coming, but still manage to creep you out. That is a sign of a truly fantastic horror movie.
There are a few story elements that don’t completely make sense and one overall plot point feels a tad convoluted in order to tie the movie and its sub-plot together. Don’t expect the same clever clapping type of scene in this second entry, either. Even if there are a few tropes used, it’s one hell of a great story anyway.
Once again, the monsters, beings, or things that lurk in the dark are incredibly well-done. The practical effects and makeup bring life to these undead, inhuman things. The only exception, and the reason I mention practical effects, is the CGI creature that looks like a CGI creature. It’s the movie’s only visual sore thumb, and one that’s noticeably been hit hard enough with a hammer to leave a bruise.
The on-screen characters tug at your heartstrings with their compelling story and the great choice of actors for each role. Even the most irritating of character will have a compelling, human side to them. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson’s on-screen characters mesh perfectly once more as the husband and wife duo.
It’s incredibly difficult to find anything wrong with The Conjuring 2, besides its ability to play things safe within the horror genre, though that shouldn’t be a deterrent from this beautifully shot and incredible sounding movie.
Release Date: 10 June 2016 (South Africa)
Cast: Vera Farmiga; Patrick Wilson; Frances O’Connor
Studio: New Line Cinema
Director: James Wan
Age restriction: 13 VH
Running time: 2 hours 14 minutes
Verdict: While The Conjuring 2 may not try anything new in the genre, it does stand on its own as not only a fantastic supernatural horror movie, but a worthy successor to the first movie as well.
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All images via IMDB.