The Conjuring 2 Review

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By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

When The Conjuring arrived in theaters, I asked you if you believed in ghosts or demons. Maybe, prior to the film, the evidence on shows like Ghost Adventures didn’t necessarily convince you of their existence. After the film, maaaaybeeee you were on the fence with your beliefs. Well, guess what? That husband and wife duo known as The Warrens have another story to tell, and this time around, they’re here to convince you that evil does exist! James Wan is back at the helm with the direct sequel (no, Annabelle was not a sequel) to the Conjuring with The Conjuring 2: The Einfield Poltergeist.

Some time after the events of the first film, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are touring the talk show circuit and dealing with increased skepticism regarding their brushes with paranormal activity. It has come to the point that, after the events of the Amityville house, they want to stay away from cases for a while. But across the pond, in Einfield, a city on the northern outskirts of London, bad things are happening at the home of Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor). Little things begin happening around the house, and the youngest daughter, Janet (Madison Wolfe) becomes the target of the benevolence in the home. Ed and Lorraine hear about the case, and are reluctant to investigate, but soon things start happening, forcing the Warrens to head to Einfield. So far from home, and with the recent events still fresh in their minds, will Ed and Lorraine be able to help a family in need or will the evil entities become the breaking point for both of them?

1

If you’ve ever thought about going to visit London, this film may put a damper on that, considering the evil spirits that are there, apparently. Sarcasm aside, James Wan attempted to outdo his work from the first film. Was he successful? Hard to say. At worst, it’s exactly on par with the first film, if not better. What Wan does so well is he makes the horror genre feel real, makes it feel like there is true evil around us, and that no one is really safe. We’ve had too many paranormal films that feel too “by the book” and too inauthentic. Wan does the opposite, and the way the characters act is often how you or I would respond in such situations. That makes it that much more terrifying knowing, even when they make what would be good decisions, the threat is still there. Wan slowly builds up the tension, and you know something bad is coming, and you try to mentally prepare for that moment, but it keeps building and hits you when you least expect it. Wan takes his style from the old school of horror, and for that, we, as the audience, are truly privileged.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga pick up where they left off and don’t miss a beat with their performances. They were designed to play these roles and the characters feel real and alive. They display so many layers, and are often in juxtaposition of one another, it feels like we’re watching a version of yin and yang. I’d love to know what the real Lorraine Warren thinks of these characters. Newcomer Madison Wolfe has a large role to play for such a young actress, taking on the role of the young girl who gets possessed by a demon. She convincingly projects both terror and misery in her situation and we wholeheartedly feel bad for her situation yet happy that it isn’t us. Frances O’Connor is equally convincing as a mother who is thrust into a situation she has absolutely no control over. She doesn’t have the resources to move her family out and yet, as a mother, she tries to do everything to protect her children, yet this is a battle she cannot win alone. And that powerlessness and fear comes across vividly through the performance.

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The Conjuring 2 is yet another hit under the belt of James Wan. More often than not, a sequel tends to play out far worse than its predecessor. Yet Wan expertly crafts the film to be on that same level, and he does that by focusing on storytelling and not allowing himself to go more towards clichéd moments in typical horror films. The Conjuring 2 is going to head in to the weekend with some stiff competition in Warcraft and Now You See Me 2, yet it may be the best film out of the trio (it’s FAR better than Warcraft, trust me). So whether or not you believe in ghosts or the paranormal is up to you. What you can believe in is that this is another great film by James Wan and well worth being scared for two hours and maybe questioning your future trip to London. OK, in all seriousness, go to London and go watch The Conjuring 2!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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