The Conjuring 2 (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


conjuringpostersmallAs the movie season enters into the Summer, movie-goers are hungry for a satisfying horror movie. Up until now Hollywood has struggled in that department; that is until James Wan announced last year that he would return to the world of horror after finishing up ‘Fast and Furious 7‘. And with production coming to a close, he would announce that ‘The Conjuring 2‘ would indeed be his next project and continue the case studies of Ed and Lorraine Warren. After a rousing success with the original 2013 hit and a less then stellar spin-off in ‘Annabelle‘, fans are clamoring to see the franchise return to form with James Wan directing the sequel. So with that in mind, did ‘The Conjuring 2‘ live up to the hype of the original? Maybe so, but that’s nothing to knock at as it truly has a strong footing.

With the return of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in their leading roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren, they venture out into one of the most diabolical cases in history as the Hodgson family in Enfield England experience terror as a spirit slowly destroys the lives of a mother and her four kids. As the mystery goes deeper and sanities begin to reach a breaking point, Ed and Lorraine’s spirits are tested and could potentially lead to their end. The film also stars Madison Wolfe, Frances O’Connor, and Simon McBurney.

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Having seen the original film I was a huge fan and it really catapulted James Wan’s career as a horror director. What made the original so great was the focus put on the characters and you actually caring about them when things go bad. Also, the cinematography was what really stood out as it built tension and suspense. Some may criticize the children in the first Conjuring for being annoying but shouldn’t be at fault as most of the attention was put on the mother, played by Lili Taylor, as she slowly became possessed by the demonic spirit of the evil witch. Where the first movie may have struggled, the sequel rights itself as the children become the focal point.

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There’s a lot to appreciate in ‘The Conjuring 2‘ as most of what’s liked is in the little details. Without giving anything away in spoilers, in the opening of the film we get another introduction to a case study; however this time being where the last movie left off with Ed and Lorraine Warren venturing to Rhode Island and visiting the Amityville home. This to me was a great opening to the movie as we got to see a glimpse into one of the most well-known and most publicized hauntings that would then get into the hands of Hollywood. With the right amount of attention and focus the movie doesn’t spend too much time on the Amitvyville story; rather it builds into the paranormal events that we would then see in the Enfield case. The wrongs that most films do is done right by James Wan and his abilities to not sway away from conventional wisdom. We’ve already been introduced to the Amityville story with numerous films and what Wan succeeds in is not retelling a story that’s been done time and time again.

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As for the focal point of the movie with Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe) being manipulated by the evil entity, Wolfe does an amazing job. Not only do you care for her as she tries to prove everyone wrong, but she also has that innocence that most kids would have at a young age. Most of the time in movies people are cast without thought of how they are perceived by audiences. This can sometimes lead to a disconnect; especially when they are in a lead role. There even has to be praise for Frances O’Connor who plays the mom as she delivers a good performance as she tries to keep her children safe when the media begins to come into the picture.

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The casting was superb in this film which leads us to another strong performance by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. Their chemistry together is seamless and leads us into rooting for them when things turn upside-down. Even when the media begins to question their beliefs and close encounters with the paranormal, they may start to rethink a continuing venture into the unknown but doesn’t stop them when the Hodgson family come into the picture. There’s a moment when the importance of family is brought into play and how togetherness is what will prevail anyone or anything from tearing them apart. With overall satisfaction, we can potentially see future sequels of Ed and Lorraine Warren and their case studies as Wilson and Farmiga have become the staple of the franchise.

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Now it’s not to say that the movie doesn’t have its flaws as the scares we got from the original don’t quite live up here. The first movie was atmospheric with dread; however, here we have a combination of ‘Insidious’ and Conjuring effects. The movie says the Enfield case is the most “diabolical” of them all but I would beg to differ by saying the first movie lived up to that monicker. In ‘The Conjuring 2‘ it’s more so a poltergeist where a spirit haunts the home and isn’t afraid to reveal itself to the outside world. The movie does have tension and some visually terrifying moments that only showcase the strengths of James Wan who knows how to respect the horror genre without resorting to violence as most horror films now-a-days falls victim to. So going into ‘The Conjuring 2‘ you will notice a slight difference in the scares which only benefits the film from falling into retread territory.

After all that was said and all has been seen, ‘The Conjuring 2‘ is a solid sequel to James Wan’s original. Though it may not live up to the original, it definitely makes up for it with strong performances and a spooky tale to be told. Where most sequels fail, Warner Bros. and James Wan do justice and only promises more sequels to follow if and when ‘The Conjuring 2‘ leads to a box-office success.

Rating: 7.5/10

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What do you guys think of ‘The Conjuring 2‘? Do you plan on watching the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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