REVIEW: The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Conjuring 2 poster

The following is a review of The Conjuring 2, a James Wan film.

I loved the first The Conjuring. James Wan had made another great horror franchise, and it pretty much came out of nowhere. It was magnificent, and it is now regarded as a new horror classic. Needless to say, there was a lot of pressure on the filmmakers to recreate the greatness of the first film. Now, while I don’t think it is as amazing as the original film, The Conjuring 2 is a pretty great horror sequel.

The Conjuring 2, once again, follows the legendary paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively). The Warrens are now household names. While the original film presented them as demonologists traveling from lecture to lecture, the Warrens now go on television and explain the authenticity of their investigations and their evidence. There are a lot of skeptics, and it has gotten to our main characters.

Just when they’ve decided to end their investigations, they become aware of a strange happening in Enfield, London. A family, the Hodgsons, is being terrorized by a spirit in their home. The Warrens agree to help the Hodgsons, but Lorraine keeps on having visions of Ed dying, and skeptics are questioning the validity of the Enfield-case.

The Conjuring 2 is so damn scary. As I sat in the theater, I really didn’t like moving at all. The mood and tone of the film is perfect. There are several key scenes that are so tense. The film is straight-up paralyzing. The subject matter is much more scary, to me at the very least, there are way more creepy creatures, and the B-story (like the ‘Annabelle’ B-story in the first film) is pretty excellent.

One of my favorite things about this film is that they gave us a lot more of the Warrens’ relationship. Farmiga and Wilson work really, really well together, and Farmiga especially shines here. I really cared about these characters. So much so that I missed the Warrens whenever they weren’t on-screen.

The film is also incredibly well-shot, with great long-takes and such. James Wan and Don Burgess make use of shots familiar to fans of the first film. It is very familiar in that way. It is definitely a Conjuring-film, but I will admit that there were times where it felt more like an Insidious-film. Even if you didn’t know James Wan made both of these franchises, you probably could have guessed it from this film.

This feels like a good starting point for the problems I have with the film. Make no mistake, even though I really, really liked it a lot, it does have some problems. And my biggest problem with the film was the length of it. The Conjuring 2 is too long, and it takes too long for the main characters to get to London.

The film is really familiar. You’ve seen stories like this before, and the Hodgson-family doesn’t feel all that different from the Perron-family, to me. It also felt like it relied on too many jump-scare moments. This film is about tension and dread, not sudden loud noises out of nowhere.

My final problem is really hard to discuss without getting into spoiler-territory, but I’ll give it a shot. There are two major revelations in the third act that really bothered me. One of them came out of nowhere, and the other one could have been handled better. The third act has some noticeable problems, but I can’t really get into those.

If I were to compare the two, then I would probably come to the conclusion that I do think the first The Conjuring is a better film. However, with that having been said, I must also confess that I thought The Conjuring 2 had a greater impact on me in the theater. It is a tense, scary, and paralyzing experience. Religion is really scary, religious figures are really scary, and The Conjuring 2 is a really great supernatural-horror film. Now, can we get a third film based on the files of Ed and Lorraine Warren? Please, James Wan. Please be the one to make it.

8 out of 10

– I’m Jeffrey Rex.

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