By Christian DiMartino
James Wan’s The Conjuring was the best mainstream scary film in years. Nothing really scares me, but I’ll admit that that movie freaked me a out a tad. Not only that, it was really just an impressive, old fashioned spookfest. So now Wan is back with The Conjuring 2, and while it’s not quite as good as its predecessor, it’s still rather effective.
Like the previous film, it’s beautifully photographed, perfectly acted, and just right, in terms of tone and what not. Wan even manages to pull off a musical number without it feeling out of place. Yep. Halfway through, Patrick Wilson performs Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and he kills it.
Anyways, to the story. The film opens with the Lorraine and Ed Warren(Vera Farmiga and Wilson, both top notch again) recounting their visit to the Amityville house. It’s there that Lorraine sees a vision of… Well I won’t go there. But I’ll say that it ties into the story later on, as the Amityville tale isn’t the focus.
The key focus of The Conjuring 2 is the Hogsdon family, which resides in Enfield, London. This is actually one of the most talked about haunting cases in history. When one of the daughters, Janet, begins seeing things in her sleep, all bets are off. Let’s just say, some creepy stuff happens, involving an old man, and a freaky nun. And of course the Warrens, being the investigators they are, are called on the case.
The Conjuring 2 isn’t quite as good as The Conjuring. The Conjuring 2 is plenty creepy, and the story is bonkers. But I guess the weakness here is the plotting. Wan obviously has a gift for this stuff, but the film feels a tad redundant. Not to mention, it’s about 20 minutes too long.
But if you’re willing to look past those things, then The Conjuring 2 will be a breeze. So many scary films miss the mark, and even more scary movie sequels miss the mark, so when one is on target, we should be thankful.
It may not cover new ground necessarily, but what it does, it does right for the most part. Wan has a certain approach to the old that still makes it feel fresh. It’s rated R, for no particular reason… aside that it will freak people out. See? Told ya.
Really though, I think its the goodwill and talent of Farmiga and Wilson is the beating heart of The Conjuring 2. Leave it to Wan to cut away from the paranormal stuff to showcase Wilson singing Elvis. It feels odd, but yet it’s a sweet, lovely scene, in that it adds a certain depth to these characters. Both actors are severely underrated, and it’s great to see their talents on full display. I could watch them play these characters for years, and hopefully, more Warren adventures will come.
The Conjuring 2 works, if you ask me. Perhaps not all the time, but fairly well. What I did take away from the film, if anything, is this: I’ve seen a lot of sequels this year, and way too many of them have missed their marks. So I’ll say that I’m thankful for The Conjuring 2, considering it is a rare one that feels pure.