Rewind back to 2013, audiences reveled in the releases of The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2, add along the surprise announcement from James Wan himself, stating that he was leaving the horror genre to direct other films. Which he did, with the blockbuster success Fast and Furious 7. But to horror fans delight, James Wan decided to come back to the genre that made him famous, with the 2016 release of The Conjuring 2.
The Conjuring 2 picks up in the year 1974, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren are investigating the infamous “Amityville Horror”. The Warren’s are trying to figure out if a demonic presence caused Ronald Defeo Jr. to kill his family in the Amityville home. While the seance takes place, Lorraine encounters a demonic nun and witnesses an image of the impaling of her husband, Ed. Awoken and startled, Lorraine wants to take a break from taking any new cases, she becomes worried that her vision during the séance is an omen and that Ed is in danger. Also at this time, many critics are becoming skeptical about the Warren’s, believing the events they document are hoaxes.
Fast forward to 1977, the audience is taken to Enfield, England. Introduced to the Hodgson family, which consists of the mother Peggy, two sons Johnny and Billy, and two daughters Margaret and Janet, the latter being the main character involved with the demonic spirt. The strange occurrences begin with Janet, she starts to sleep walk and has conversation with an unseen individual. Other occurrences such as furniture moving on its own and loud knocking on the doors and walls, alarmed, Peggy Hodgson calls the police. The police also witness furniture moving on its own and the loud knocks as well. Media reporter Maurice Grosse gets involved with the strange occurrences at the Hodgson home, trying to get the spirit to explain why he keeps bothering the family. Through Janet, the spirit of Bill Wilkins, who lived and died in the home, explains he wants his home back and for everyone to leave. Further along, Janet continues to deal with the demonic possession, eventually the happenings get related over to the Warren’s. The church sends them out to verify if the events are a hoax or are indeed real….
The Conjuring 2 is a rare horror sequel, in the fact that it was better than the original. I felt that James Wan did a great job with the direction of the film. He created characters that the audience could sympathize with, and feel remorse for Janet, with the tragic events she had to suffer through. Actress Madison Wolfe did a wonderful job as the character of Janet. And of course, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, reprising the roles of Lorraine and Ed Warren, were wonderful as well. In The Conjuring 2, the audience gets a better grasp of the Warren’s relationship.
The cinematic atmosphere of The Conjuring 2, is reminiscent of the Insidious films, with the use of shadow and sound. The film also had plenty of jump scares, particularly with the strange occurrences inside the Hodgson home, as well as a scene at the Warren residence involving Lorraine and the demonic nun.
Overall, James Wan did an excellent job with The Conjuring 2. The direction, acting, cinematography, and music were all on point and presented the audience with a genuinely scary horror film. It’s rare to say that nowadays, with horror films focusing more on gore than frightening audiences in other ways. But The Conjuring 2 does just that.
Phillip is a life-long horror movie fan and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in film. Check out Phillip's YouTube channel here.