Let’s be honest, how many of you were like me and thought this movie was going to suck ass? Who would blame us, though? You see it time and time again, a brand new horror movie comes out and does an excellent job in scaring us senseless, and then BAM – the birth of the sequel that completely abolishes its predecessor. Sinister 2 did it, Paranormal Activity 2 – 6 did it, but what about James Wan’s The Conjuring 2? Well, spit in my mouth and call me Sheila because this sequel to the first movie wasn’t actually that bad. I know, right? But before you read on further, I have to warn you that I will be covering some of the plot points from the movie, so if you haven’t seen it yet, do so; and come back.
The Conjuring 2 brings back our favourite pair of ghostbusters Ed and Lorraine Warren, who this time, travel across the pond to London to investigate the hauntings plaguing the Hodgson family; a happening appropriately named ‘The Enfield Haunting’. Interested so far? You should be.
What I enjoyed most about Wan’s film was its in-touch relationship with two of the most frenzied paranormal events in history: the Amityville horror and the Enfield hauntings. Being the worryingly-intrigued fellow that I am, I have quite the obsession with reading about events like these, and to see a film covering both of them was very interesting to watch. Some might say that basing a movie on events that actually occurred is easy and simple to do, but I’d argue that depicting such events on the big screen through the eyes of characters that were actually present at the time adds a layer of authenticity to its narrative. And although I am fully aware of the events that supposedly took place in Amityville and Enfield, that didn’t take away any suspense or horror from what I was watching, something that is easier said than achieved.
I have to give props to most of the acting in the film, too; especially from the children. Having a cast tailored around four children would more often than not result in poor performances due to a seemingly lack of experience, but I have to give credit in particular to Madison Wolfe and Lauren Esposito’s appearances in the film. Once the narrative starts to progress, we really start to sympathise for the children in the story, and that can only be a compliment to their performances.
I was, however, undecided on whether I enjoyed the film as a horror. Whilst I took pleasure in seeing a horror with a certain emotional and humorous attachment to its narrative, I also couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed by its final execution. It seemed that the entirety of the movie was building up to an emotional farewell to Ed Warren but for James Wan to pull out at the last minute. Would it have been so bad to see Ed die, or even anyone for that matter? Maybe it’s the sadist in me, but I feel the happy-ending type of finale just didn’t suit the vast majority of the film. Why not leave audiences in absolute shock rather than walk out of the screening with a sense of disappointment, it is supposed to be a horror after all, right?
But as the scares go there were a few instances where I almost shit my pants, and there were moments of really good suspense-building at times. We were led to believe something was going to pop out, but were left with more tension surrounding the next big scare – and I applaud Wan for that. But the amount of horror cliches in the film were a little disappointing. The dark corners, the mirror jump scare, the good vs. evil story; we’ve all seen it before. Perhaps these scares have become overly-established within the horror genre nowadays and simply cannot be avoided, but they are still present nevertheless. But hey, did I get scared at times? You bet your ass I did.But for Christ’s sake, someone get rid of that rocking chair, it brings more crappy luck than someone walking under a ladder on Friday the 13th. (You get the point).
Scary at times!
But with these flaws aside, are we left with another Conjuring movie that is on par with the first? Yeah! Were we left with a horror that at times made me shriek like a pre-pubescent 12 year-old boy? Yeah! So when it boils down to it, I can’t really complain.
Did someone say a trilogy?