RELEASED 2016 RUNTIME 134 MIN LANGUAGE ENGLISH DIRECTION JAMES WAN SCREENPLAY JAMES WAN, CHAD HAYES, CAREY HAYES, DAVID LESLIE JOHNSON STARRING VERA FARMIGA, PATRICK WILSON, FRANCES O’CONNOR, MADISON WOLFE, SIMON McBURNEY, FRANKA POTENTE MUSIC JOSEPH BISHARA
The Conjuring 2 by James Wan is the sequel to the Conjuring and tells us the true story (as far as you believe in that kind of stuff) of another paranormal investigation (after the Amiteville case) by the Warren’s that took place in Enfield, England in 1977. Where one of 4 kids living with their mom gets possessed by an entity that seems much more aggressive than anything the Warrens had experienced before.
I was really excited for this film because the first Conjuring is a blast! At the time maybe the best horror film that is not found-footage in the last decade. So, here is the sequel also directed by the horror maestro James Wan and I can tell you, it’s awesome.
The thing that I like most about the first Conjuring is the strong characters. Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) are actually full realized personas and well developed. How many times have we met characters in horror movies that are interesting and actually intelligent human beings? Right, almost never! It’s one of the biggest horror movie cliches and the main reason why this genre has a hard time being taken seriously among critics and movie goers.
But not here. James Wan finds a balance in his projects between scares, tension and character development like no one else nowadays. And this balance of drama and horror continues on in this movie, especially with Lorraine Warren. She is the center piece of this story and sometimes the movie comes off as a character film inside a horror setting devoted to her. Her relationship with her husband Ed is a major part. But not only they are great characters. The family in the film also gets great moments and the actors portraying the characters are really good in their roles. Particularly Madison Wolfe is phenomenal! She reminds me of a young Natalie Portman. That’s how good she is!
So, generally speaking, when it comes to the characters, the movie does a great job in making the world believable. Every decision made by the people in the story makes sense and feels earned.
When it comes to scares, nobody stands up to James Wan’s direction. The way he films scenes and the camera angles he uses creates great tension and feels creative in itself. Yes, there are a few jump scares. But the way he films these they actually feels fitting and interesting. He just doesn’t zoom into a dark window where randomly a hand pops out with a loud background noise. He actually “prepares” you for the scare, if that makes sense. He pans around the room and shows you the scary image before it becomes scary. A scary face doesn’t have to jump at you in order to be scary. But it will jump at you once you feel safe and secure.
That brings me to the pacing of the film. One thing that I noticed here is the non stop thrill. When I watch a horror film I kind of know when to prepare myself for a scary moment. It’s usually like that: we a have a scary 10 minutes, then 10 minutes of levity. Then 10 minutes of scares, another 10 minutes to rest, and so on.
With this film it feels more like 5 minutes of scares, 10 minutes of levity, 10 minutes of scares – ops, did I mean 10? Nope let’s make it another 5. 10 minutes of levity – hold on, let’s make it just 2 and do another 5 minutes of scares – wait did I mean scares? Oh you though I’m gonna scare you here, didn’t you? Forget it! I’m actually gonna scare you HERE!
In other words, the movie keeps fooling you into thinking you are secure when you really are not. There is a constant dread, even in the scenes taking place in daylight (which usually are the levity scenes, right?) this unpredictability makes the film scarier than other horror films.
Oh, and by the way. There is some crazy frightening imagery here. It usually doesn’t happen to me. But I remember one night a week after I have watched the film, when I woke up at night and couldn’t fall back asleep because I was thinking of one particular figure from that movie. I was legitimately terrified!
I’m not sure, if this film is better than the first one. I can’t decide. On the one hand it’s more frightening than the original and much deeper in plot and character development. It actually picks up the nuggets that were left behind in the original and develops them further. So it feels like a true continuation of the story. On the other hand it relies a little bit more in jump scares. Also it is much longer to a point where it can be too dreadful on your nerves to a point where you wish it to be over. Not that it particularly made me feel that way, but I heard some people complain about it. Silly!
The Conjuring 2 is a great sequel to an already great original horror film. It builds off the first one and keeps developing its characters to rarely seen depths in a horror movie franchise. If you are a horror movie fan, but feel like most horrors lack intelligence, look no further. I’m not a horror guy but found this film to be amazing. James Wan can do no wrong it seems like.