Question: How do you put a fresh spin on demonic possession movies? Answer: You give the film to James Wan and say “Here you go… have fun!”
Since I was a huge fan of the first Conjuring, I was eagerly awaiting The Conjuring 2. However I had some reservations because sequels tend to be hit or miss.
Directed by James Wan and starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring 2 was based on the “Enfield Poltergeist”. The premise focused on a single mother Peggy Hodgson, and her four children and was set in Endfield,England in 1977. In this story a malevolent spirit is conjured up by Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe) and her sister when they start playing with a homemade Ouija board.
In the opening moments, we find the Warrens setting up their research equipment as they prepare to investigate the Amityville house. For those who aren’t familiar with Ed and Lorraine, back in 1975 they were called to investigate the home after Ronald Defeo murdered his family then blamed it on demonic possession. Within a year of the murders, the home’s new owners the Lutz family, abandoned it in the middle of the night claiming it was possessed. The resulting Amityville investigation put the Warrens in the national spotlight.
I have to give credit to Wan and his screen writers Chad and Cary Hayes, and David Leslie Johnson for opening the film this way. They stayed true to the Warren’s history and it was a great lead in for Lorraine to have a terrifying out of the body experience during a seance. While horror films in general tend to be quite predictable, Wan continues to create films where he understands that building suspense is the key.
Put simply, James Wan is a master at his craft and the tools he uses camerawork, timing, and mini-shocks are prominent throughout the film. There are a couple of scenes that were obviously “borrowed” from the Insidious films, but they fit nicely into this story.
So what set this film apart from the original Conjuring?
Aside from the location, there was humor (yes, you read that correctly) and this time Lorraine’s terrifying visions from Amityville, scared her enough to consider retiring. The Conjuring 2 also centered around the relationship between Ed and Lorraine. While this caused the film to drag a little, it was a nice touch.
Since I brought up the drag comment, I should elaborate. The film was much longer(133 minutes) than the original and although certain scenes seemed necessary to the plot, they took too long to develop. Overall,they could of shaved off an additional 10-15 minutes and it wouldn’t of hurt the film in the least.
So that about sums up The Conjuring 2. It’s packed with suspense, scares, and terrifying images to keep you up at night if you’re on the squeamish side. If you’re a fan of the Conjuring films there’s plenty to be excited about.