Supernatural investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren are back. Unfortunately for them, so are the ghosts.
Once again directed by James Wan, The Conjuring 2 follows the Warren’s (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) journey to London where a single mother and her family of four are haunted by the ghost of an old man. Of course, the ghost haunting them is anything but friendly, and daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe) begins to feel the force of supernatural events.
Unlike its predecessor, The Conjuring 2 places less focus on build-up of atmosphere and tension and instead concentrates on continual scares. The film succeeds in creating a creepy and suspenseful tone from the very start. However, the rate of the scares can become testing.
Beginning at an investigation of the infamous Amityville murders in 1976, the opening sees Lorraine Warren thrown directly into the supernatural events occurring there and employs a great deal of creativity in doing this. It is a good start and rivals the first The Conjuring in kick-starting the horror.
As the remainder of the film, the setting of a rundown, seventies council house in London surprisingly acts as a great location for supernatural events and creates a nice contrast with the big creaky mansions we are so often treated to in this subgenre of horror.
James Wan’s direction is also very good, successfully delivering scares and creating a spooky tone in those dimly-lit environments. Some inventive scares, such as seeing the old man in the reflection of the TV screen, and the music is on top form with an array of tracks to suit the period and mood.
The major problem of the film comes in the form of the supernatural entity itself. Unlike the previous film, this ghost is much more complex in nature and the revelations and mystery surrounding it become confused and slightly distracts the story towards the film’s conclusion.
In addition, while enjoyable enough to watch, the level of terror and physical destruction that the supernatural entity is able to unleash is perhaps a tad too extreme. With the house being smashed to pieces and people teleporting, it really feels that the film is in need of the pacing that the first film exhibited so well.
As for the cast, it is all rather spot on. Both Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are as enjoyable as they were previously, convincing and likeable. The opening subplot of the pair confronting skeptics and Lorraine’s visions of Ed’s fate allows the actors to have a little more to play with and expand their range.
As for the characters from across the Atlantic, the Hodgson family (lead by mother Frances O’Connor and possessed daughter Madison Wolfe) all provide convincing performances and there isn’t a cringeworthy English accent in sight.
The realism of location and performances is also complemented by the dialogue. It all seems very raw and natural. Luckily, Ed and Lorraine are there to add conviction to the more expository and supernatural-jargon-packed lines.
James Wan knows how to scare and The Conjuring 2 is no exception. But, in contrast to its predecessor, it feels like it gives to much in the way of scares and pushes build up into the back seat. They say less is more – and in this case, they are probably right. Over-stuffed with scares, but still enjoyable.
Have you seen the film? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!