Conjuring 2, The (2016) - Dread Central
Connect with us

Reviews

Conjuring 2, The (2016)

Published

on

The Conjuring 2Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney

Directed by James Wan


While James Wan has dipped his feet into other genres – like vigilante thriller Death Sentence or blockbuster Furious 7 – he always feels most at home with horror. It’s the genre that lets his imagination run free, where he gets to be inventive with his camera and put his own stamp on it. Hell, even the underwhelming Dead Silence had moments of genuine suspense and craftsmanship.

The Conjuring 2 finds the helmer back on home turf, and in many ways it feels like he’s cooling down from the gauntlet of making Furious 7. This “true story” again involves paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively) as they’re sent to England to investigate a poltergeist terrorizing a family. They soon learn this pesky spirit isn’t going to stop without a fight and also discover an old case is coming back to haunt them… quite literally.

Wan has such a command of the genre at this point he can do a simple haunted house tale – and recycle tropes that have been used a million times – and somehow he’s still able to unnerve you. His deliberate pacing is the key. He lets the tension build and build, and when you think a jump is coming, he’ll hold back. Added to that, when the shocks finally do come, they usually subvert expectations and rarely feel cheap.

It’s impressive that in a film that runs 134 minutes, the pace rarely drags; and The Conjuring 2 is relentless with keeping the setpieces coming. It rarely pauses for breath, and while this approach gets a tad samey, it still holds together. The tone is set early with an atmospheric recreation of The Amityville haunting – a setting they surprisingly didn’t save for a future sequel – where Lorraine encounters a nightmarish demon that continues to plague her. This demon is a classic unsettling design from Wan, and a later scene involving a painting of the creature might be the best sequence in the film. Not all the scares work, though; a brief scene involving a CGI creature is downright silly, and the moment a character is temporally blinded drags out too long.

While Wan obviously wants to scare you, he also wants you to have some fun, too, so The Conjuring 2 isn’t some po-faced exercise in terror. It’s really funny at times (check out Wilson’s sweet Elvis impression), and there’s a warmth to the characters, especially the loving relationship between the Warrens, that keeps you invested. Madison Wolfe steals the show as the young girl the poltergeist enjoys tormenting, Simon McBurney has a blast playing the most British British person to ever British, but Franka Potente is sadly wasted as a one-dimensional skeptic.

Visually the film is gorgeous and displays Wan’s technical prowess, with the camera often gliding around the haunted house like a roaming spectre itself. A couple of shots are a little show-offy, but often any flash is in aid of the story. That said, unfortunately, the finale devolves into noisy chaos and bizarrely recalls the ending of Exorcist II: The Heretic. Tension and story get lost in the bombast, and the movie really should have dialed the noise levels down a notch or two.

The Conjuring 2 isn’t especially groundbreaking, but it’s a creepy ride with a surprising amount of heart. It’s great to see a mainstream horror that’s genuinely scary, and long may the series continue if it can keep the quality up.

  • Film
Sending
User Rating 3.67 (12 votes)

Comments

Advertisement
Comments
Advertisement

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC