Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return to their roles as star supernatural sleuths sent on a spiritual mission to rid homes of the scourge of spooks and demons in this second installment following the successful original. The story opens after a shaking experience at the notorious Amityville Horror House, Loraine is so disturbed by her visions she experiences the duo retire from the fame and front lines for a while, that is, until they get called in for one last job.
If you liked the first Conjuring prepare to love The Conjuring 2. This sequel is creepier and raises the bar higher than the last one. The scares are better and accomplish a lot with minimal gore to deliver an edge-of-your-seat frightening experience. The script is tighter and steps it up with more action and stronger characters. Frances O’Connor does a good job as a brassy single parent mother who has to manage keeping her family and her house from being literally torn apart.
The movie combines well done period elements that evoke the look and feel of the era it is set in and brings 1970’s England to the screen so vividly you’ll swear you can almost reach out and touch the polyester. It also notably makes use of the media devices of the times to present a novel twist on the found footage genre. In a world where not everyone has a smartphone in their pocket the question of what to believe becomes much harder to answer. Expect to see clunky cameras, reel to reel audio recorders, tube tv’s with three channels, and even some very early video for a true to era retro high-tech feel from a time when such prizes were hard to come by.
James Wan’s stint on Furious 7 clearly taught him how to bring more heart in this haunt and how to run a tight ship as he returns to the helm again. Han pulls from many of the same bag of tricks he is known for but they still work effectively and are delivered with more polish the second time round. You can see influences from classic 70’s films when practical shots were king and even 90’s music videos and games when jump cuts and morphing hallway pictures and oddly goofy CG baddies were still spooky. Everything feels familiar but fitting. This based on real events story has its own twist and even manages to add an unexpected touch of welcome comedy and cornball between frights.
If you stick around for the credits you get to see archival material from the real case the movie is based on. At an R rating it is definitely too scary to bring young ones to but if you are squeamish about gore or nudity there is no need to fear here. Be assured you will still be will still be twisting in suspense and yelping with fright right from the first scene.
The Conjuring 2 is out in theaters now.