By Amy Mead
The Conjuring 2
Directed by James Wan
Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O’ Connor, Lauren Esposito and Madison Wolfe
Set a decade after the events of the first film in the series, James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 gives the audience a further look into the real case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who are coming down off a huge wave of notoriety from their association with the famed Amityville case in 1976.
In this stand alone installment of the film series, the story of the Hodgson family and the events that led to The Warren’s involvement in the case that became known as The Enfield Poltergeist, is told.
London, England 1977.
After her daughter Janet’s bright, fun loving nature suddenly becomes very erratic, aggressive and unpredictably violent, single mother Peggy Hodgson becomes increasingly worried about her daughter’s well being. Janet begins sleepwalking and talking in her sleep, her behavior becoming even more erratic and violent. Before long, the whole family is witnessing paranormal occurrences. Things continue to escalate, becoming more terrifying every day.
Peggy comes to the realization that there is something sinister at hand. Something that could quite possibly be demonic. And it has made it cleas that it does not want them here. Her whole family is in very real danger. She begins to fear for their safety and turns to both the media and church for help.
As Janet begins to show more signs of demonic possession, The Warrens are asked by the church to get involved in the investigation. They travel to the family’s home in England and their involvement in the case soon gets them targeted by the entity. A battle begins to not only save Janet and the rest of Hodgson clan, but to save Ed’s soul from the demon Valak as well…
This installment of the franchise is more elaborate and dramatic than it’s predecessor, filled with twice as many hair-raising scenes and chilling visual effects. There is a constant sense of darkness, foreboding, and underlying dread, even in the less action packed moments of the film. There is a great deal of tension, which really lends itself to the overall atmosphere of the film.
While Wan kills it with his direction, the film would be nothing without Madison Wolfe’s portrayal of young Janet Hodgson. When the entity takes over, she is one seriously creepy child. Her performance when taken over by the entity is truly unsettling.
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson also once again shine in their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren. Their performances as they get to further develop these characters are nothing short of outstanding. I hope this isn’t the last we see of these characters at work.
Although a bit slow to really get rolling, once it does, it is relentless. The Conjuring 2 may very well be James Wan’s finest contribution to the horror genre yet. The way the multitude of scares are presented to the audience keeps them on the edge of their seat and wanting more while simultaneously making them dread it. There is never a dull moment.
As far as sequels go, The Conjuring 2 not only lives up to the original, but it delivers a truly frightful stand alone story that is sure to creep its audiences out. This could very well be one of the best sequels to be released in the genre in quite some time.
If you are looking for gore, you are in the wrong place. There’s not much of that to be had here. What it does have throughout its entire run is suspense and apprehension, delivered through a skilled mix of jump scares, sound, and cinematography.
I am happy to say that The Conjuring 2 was a nice little break from the slasher films I normally go for, and in my humble opinion there need to be more movies like this. It was the first time in a long time I actually experienced genuine fear and apprehension while watching a film and it left me wanting more.
Wan is a true master of fear who knows how the deliver the scares. I can’t sing his praises enough. I have yet to be disappointed in one of his films. Say what you will about some of the more recent fare that mainstream horror has had to offer, but this man’s work is entertaining, fresh, and it genuinely scares me. I’ll recommend (and watch it) it any day of the week.