Fear Friday: The Conjuring 2 (2016) Review

This week I’m going to be looking at the sequel to James Wan’s 2013 horror hit The Conjuring. I’ll be discussing the usual: my thoughts, feelings and overall opinion. Once again everyone’s favourite Paranormal Investigators, and everyone’s OTP, Ed and Lorraine Warren find themselves in Enfield, London helping the Hodgson family. As a malevolent spirit terrorises a single mother and her four children, the Warrens attempt to uncover the truth as to whether the youngest daughter is faking the activity or whether the family is in real peril. However, when Lorraine is plagued with visions of a demon that takes the form of a nun, she begins to worry that interfering with the supernatural may have a devastating affect on her family’s life.

Last year, I labelled The Conjuring as my favourite horror film of the 2010’s. So, naturally, I had very high expectations for the second instalment. As before, we meet the Warrens whilst they’re in the middle of investigating one of the most famous haunting’s in history: Amytiville. It’s here we first meet the entity that seems to follow Ed and Lorraine throughout the film and shape the Warren’s development throughout the film.

the conjuring 2 3

Image from IMDB

It’s clear that director James Wan is fascinated by the family dynamic and the affects that the supernatural can have on it. The Hodgson’s are a family struggling financially and seem to be a little lost. Throw in a vicious demon that wants them out of their house and an absent father, things can’t get much worse for them. So when the demon begins to target 11 year old Janet, it’s clear that things can get a lot worse. Madison Wolfe, who plays Janet, delivers a really strong performance as a girl who is being used a conduit for evil and has no real understanding of what’s happening.

That being said, most of the performances in The Conjuring 2 are pretty strong. Despite the fact that the Hodgson family seem like secondary characters (whereas the Perron family of the first film were more central) they weren’t easily forgotten, especially Frances O’Connor’s emotional performances as Peggy Hodgson; as a single mother who wants nothing more than to provide for and protect her children, watching her journey is heart breaking. However, for me it was Vera Farmiga that stole the show. Once again she gives the screen version of Lorraine an air of sweetness and strength; she perfects the balance between being the protective and strong mother and wife but also the cautious and worried investigator. Her chemistry with Patrick Wilson is charming and elegant and is a real delight to watch.

The Conjuring 2 (2)

I couldn’t cope with this nun. Image from IMDB

As this was the second time round I was glad to see that we got more time with the Warren’s personal life. We saw glimpses in the first film but the longer run time of the sequel allowed for us to get to know the couple more. And it was this more personal look into the Warren’s life that shaped much of the story. There was a personal risk in this investigation; the demonic entity that continues to invade Ed’s dreams and Lorraine’s visions refuses to leave the Warren’s alone and has a cold and horrific presence. It gave the plot more layers, there’s more going on than just the Enfield haunting and it provides a good, natural progression for the Warren’s.

Once again, James Wan has given then Ghostly Posession/Demonic Entity sub-genre more hope and has created an exemplar of how a horror film of this calibre should be done. Providing a decent story, a few laughs and a lot of scares The Conjuring 2 is a more than worthy sequel to its predecessor. It knows what formula works and stays within its boundaries and does it bloody well. While I’m not sure that it was a scary as the first instalment it was definitely rich in character and story line, so for me it was just as good.

Thanks for reading,

all the best,

Andrew.

 

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