Directed by | James Wan
Screenplay by | Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, David Johnson, James Wan
Starring | Patrick Wison, Vera Farmiga, Madison Wolfe
Run Time | 2hrs 14minutes
Certificate | 15
The Plot | Three years after aiding the Perron family, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren who find themselves aiding a British family haunted by a former resident.
The Review | Make no mistake about it, this is a scary movie and as far as sequels go this may even be more frightening than the first.
The film begins with the Warrens in Amityville, mid-way through their most famous case. As Lorraine tries to immerse herself in the spirit world she is haunted by a premonition of Ed’s death, forcing her to ask Ed to take a break from ghost hunting for a while.
Meanwhile over in the UK, the Hodgson family begin to hear noises and feel a presence around their London home. Things gradually escalate to the point where one of the daughters begins to show signs of possession. The Warrens are summoned across the pond to investigate whether this is a legitimate haunting or an elaborate hoax by a single mum and her four children.
The Enfield Haunting makes for a more unique setting than the remote, creaky house we saw last time. The Conjuring 2 plays the same tricks on you as before, some in an obvious way and some more advanced. You will find yourself scanning the screen looking for where the next creepy figure might appear from but constantly find nothing before being scarred senseless when something far terrifying happens.
Despite talking in the most cockney accents ever, The Hodgson family are likeable as victims of this horror. In particular, the youngest daughter and stuttering son feel very vulnerable as they hide under the covers from a lingering presence staggering around over the floorboards.
Shocks come in the usual shapes and sizes and the score isn’t afraid to shred viewers nerves as tense events come to a climax. There is a least half a dozen moments that will catch you off guard, even if you are a veteran of these kinds of films. This all builds up to a pay off that is both chilling and satisfying.
Three things in particular let this film down. Firstly, the ‘nun’ (which you’ll be seeing more of in the future is this will be getting an Annabelle style spin off) looks like Marilyn Manson. For a lot of people that might make it even scarier but the likeness is uncanny and it stops the fluidity of the film as soon as you make the connection.
Secondly, there is a real issue with how the story unfolds. The Warrens are stateside for the first hour of the film and aren’t really the focal point of the film at all, so much so that you may have even forgot about them by the time they are finally called upon. You can argue that this is based on actual events so it’s not the filmmakers fault for leaving them out of the developing arc but nonetheless it feels like you are inevitability waiting for things to escalate to the point where they have to be brought in.
Lastly, some parts of the film just feel forced and unnatural. At one point Ed picks up a never before seen guitar and serenades the kids with an Elvis classic, which just comes across as odd in the middle of all the action. The first film was guilty of this too, between the nighttime hauntings, Ed and Vera are just plodding about the house getting to know the terrorised family. Ed shows his skills as a mechanic in The Conjuring and as a plumber here, he’ll no doubt be baking cakes in The Conjuring 3.
This doesn’t stop you from enjoying the film as such it just shows that the characters don’t know what to do between demonic interactions. Time that you could use to realign your internal organs or make a tactical change of underwear. Ultimately, if you enjoyed the first edition or are a fan of the haunted house formula then you are going to get a kick out of this.
The Verdict | The Conjuring 2 doubles as both the scariest film of 2016 (so far) and the worst episode of Location, Location, Location ever. You will never look at a 3 bed semi in the same way again.