Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Conjuring 2

Year: 2016
Director: James Wan
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Frances O'Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney, Franka Potente

Plot: After investigating the Amityville haunting case in 1977, Ed and Lorraine Warren decide to cease taking on new cases. Unfortunately they are called in by the church to go to Enfield in north London, to investigate the haunting of the Hodgson family, particularly the youngest daughter, Janet.

Review: The Conjuring still is one of the best horror films out there in recent years and certified director James Wan's fame as a horror director. So it's no surprise that there should be a sequel, pitting real life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren against yet another demon causing havoc in someone's home.

An incident at Amityville prompts Lorraine to convince Ed not to do any more demon fighting for a while. But the couple are called in soon enough to take on a case in Enfield, north London, where the Hodgson family, made up of divorced mum Peggy and her four kids, Margaret, Janet, Billy and Johnny, are terrorised by demons. Janet is the specific target of the entity, taking the form of an old man who claims to be a former resident of the house. Ed and Lorraine attempt to help the family but soon realize that this entity is more than a handful.

Wan follows the same route he took before with the first film: presenting Ed and Lorraine as the lead characters and showing the story mainly through their eyes. Thus the Warrens' relationship takes centre stage again, which puts The Conjuring films a step above most horror flicks out there. Sure, Wan has plenty of tricks in his bag, and if you're familiar with his style, you'd know how the scares will come, but the real strength of his films lies in his characters and how they relate to one another. Ed and Lorraine's love and trust for each other stand out here, especially when Lorraine fears for her husband's well being after seeing him die in a vision she had. The Hodgsons on the other hand may seem like a scared family on the surface, but they exhibit a strong need to stand by one another when the chips are down, which is also commendable.

As for the scares, don't you worry. While Wan resorts to some familiar tricks like darkness, things that move by themselves or loud sounds, he still manages to conjure (no pun intended) a lot of well timed frights, with a minimal amount of jump scares.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are still on point as Ed and Lorraine respectively, as if they're comfortably slipping into shoes they've worn before. Frances O'Connor is solid as Peggy Hodgson but young actress Madison Wolfe is just splendid as Janet, giving a tour de force performance as a scared and possessed girl.

There are only two downsides I can mention, the first being Sterling Jerins' appearance as Judy Warren, which is nearly an afterthought, just so Wan can tell his audience that she exists. The second downside is the report of the Enfield haunting being an elaborate hoax, and that the Warrens' weren't involved in a major way like the film describes. Wan does try to address the hoax in the form of Franka Potente's sceptical character Anita Gregory, who does not believe in the Hodgsons' situation, but it's tough to tell if this part of the film was accurate. Therefore to a lot of people, this story is a huge embellishment so if you're a fan of the truth, you'd have to watch this with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, as a horror film, it scores on most levels and for horror enthusiasts, that's what counts.

Wan had recently stated he would do a third if he could, so things look bright for The Conjuring series. If you're a fan of horror, there's no reason to not check this out. (8/10)  

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