If horror films have taught us anything, it’s that there’s nothing that quite scares people like twins, possessed young girls and creepy old white guys though after seeing this film you might also be adding nuns to that list. After the events of the first film, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are still in the business of the supernatural and the story begins in Amityville before moving on to tackle a particularly nasty spirit inhabiting the house of the Hodgson’s in Enfield.
The first thing you have to talk about is the fact that Vera Farmiga is one of the most underrated actresses, her work in film as well as the brilliant series Bates Motel has shown she’s capable of so much and yet the media world does not talk about her enough; especially as Lorraine Warren, there’s a lot of emotion all packed into this character, be it fear or love or compassion but she’s got it covered on all counts. The same really goes for Patrick Wilson he’s appeared in a lot of film and television and yet he manages to stay fairly under the radar but again he’s dead on for his character and the two of them together make such a team with a fantastic connection, being able to show such a love between them even throughout the most horrible of events. Then there’s Madison Wolfe who plays Janet, the focus of the spirit’s attention and since beginning to act a mere 4 years ago has racked up a not inconsiderable amount of experience and it certainly shows with her performance. Wolfe as Janet is great, her character is pushed through so much and even at her young age, she doesn’t drop the ball for a second, she’s utterly convincing and gives the audience that sense of wanting to protect her, while being afraid of what she may be capable of.
James Wan has been and is creating the standard to which all Hollywood horror films need to meet, yes this is also the man who created the Saw franchise but we can overlook that now, the first film showed his capability with these characters and their story but this film kicks it up a notch. The style feels almost clever in that Wan uses every possible element of how the camera can be used to get the audience on the edge of their seat with their hearts pounding, and what makes it even more clever is that a lot of it you’ll feel like you know what’s coming, and yet it will still feel scary anyway. The story is one of the most publicised supernatural occurrences (or hoaxes depending on your school of thought) but it doesn’t matter whether you believe or not in spirits and demons and so on because the story will pull you in, to this sweet little family who are being terrorised in their own home and you’ve no idea what could happen and wanting to know what will eradicate any problem with whether you believe in the supernatural or not. This is horror at its best, there are so many problems with the genre and this tackles all of them, it gives you characters you can care about, a story you can get your teeth into, plenty of scares to get in your head and the element of surprise (which is particularly rare in the genre), as well as generally just being an enjoyable film to watch.
At first glance, it’s easy to be sceptical of the films over 2 hours running time but it manages to move along well and has so much happening that you won’t notice and will in fact be glad that it is that length. Managing to create a successful sequel in general is difficult but managing to create a successful horror film sequel that improves on the first is a very rare thing to see but Wan does it without question. The Conjuring 2 is scary, it’s enough to get your heart rate up and barely let it relax for a moment, it’s also entertaining with a great story and will give fans a satisfying follow up to the original.