THE CONJURING 2 (REVIEW)
Dir. James Wan
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
James Wan is no doubt the modern master of horror. Spawning the torture porn fad of the early 2000’s and proving his passion for horror is much more varied with the follow ups of DEAD SILENCE, INSIDIOUS, and THE CONJURING. After taking a well-deserved break, filming the eighth entry to big Hollywood franchise FAST & FURIOUS, he now returns to doing what he does best and that is scaring the living sh*t out of people.
THE CONJURING 2 is a sequel stroke new chapter to the series as it follows the case load of true life paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren. Glimpsing past the infamous and oft filmed events of Long Island, this movie follows the case of Janet Hodgeson (Madison Wolfe) in Enfield, England. The events, deferred as the most legitimate and documented of cases, surrounded the Hodgeson family in a terrifying ordeal that lasted between 1977-79.
Carrying the tone from the previous film, the essence of family is strong and seen no stronger between the relationship of Ed and Lorraine that shows no sign of being the last entry of the series. What is refreshing in THE CONJURING 2 is that this is a family unit and all is not grim. This reflection of a golden age of horror where the presence of blood and violence was often avoided in favour for a family fighting together for survival. More akin to THE AMITYVILLE HORROR and POLTERGEIST than any of the modern phase of gut wrenching horror, this second entry in the franchise is certainly a solid horror movie of this generation.
Yet don’t forget this is a horror movie from James Wan so expect to be terrified. Whether it’s the haunting of Lorraine Warren that follows the movie or the chilling events unfolding in the Hodgeson household, there’s enough crammed in to make you question the wet patch on your sofa.
At 2 hours and 14 minutes, this is a long film and could have been cut to retain its fear factor. No 2 minutes pass without a genuine scare but the restraint to omit some of these would have made this perfect. Unfortunately, the film does lull after the 2 hour mark and from a critics viewpoint, the inclusion of the mentally creepy Crooked Man is the films weak spot. Feeling like a character straight from a Tim Burton scribble, it doesn’t quite hit the mark in the gruelling reality of the poltergeist activity, if anything, the Crooked Man would be a worthwhile addition to the franchise in another film, even better than the recently announced spin-off of the nun whose story is generally covered in the context of this film.
As ever, Wan compiles a great cast, a well written (if unrestrained) script and a spine chilling score to deliver another nerve shredding movie to his library. If THE CONJURING 2 leaves us with something, it’s the wanting of more case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, and a new pair of pants.