Looks like James Wan knows how to “Conjure” up a sequel…now if it’s a good or bad one, that is up for you to decide.
The Conjuring 2 takes place a good few years after the original, which still gives me the shivers at the very thought of it, with the Warrens once again investing what goes bump in the night and spreading their own ghost to different houses…the holy ghost that is. (I’m sorry, I simply couldn’t resist.)
The Warrens are sent out to investigate the haunting, and very publicly talked about experience of the Enfield mystery in which “actual” evidence of spirit activity was documented in pictures and such. Talks of faking many of the events were of course spoken about, but this is Hollywood, and in Hollywood demons sell tickets.
With a world full of sequels and remakes, Conjuring 2 may not be a shining example of one done right, but it isn’t done wrong. The film is the first one in a while that I can say is a movie purely based on individual experiences. It is neither good nor bad, exceptional nor blasé. Hell it isn’t even that remarkable in the horror movie department but it does do its job correctly.
The whole movie is based on suspense, a wonderful, most thrill seeking suspense that gets your blood pumping and your body ready to bounce, which may be exactly what an audience wants and is paying for in a movie such as this, however suspense can’t be the only thing in this critics book to carry a film.
With a few truly remarkably scary scenes aside, the film relies on conventions we have seen time and time again, almost where the suspense we are being delivered wasn’t really suspense at all, but a rehash of films such as Insidious and Poltergeist being thrust down our throat. Again, this may be totally acceptable to most audiences when viewing this film. It is an effective horror movie at its very core, but wouldn’t we rather watch a film that not only tantalizes our hearts by speeding up their beats, but also stimulates our minds at the same time? And it appears I wasn’t the only one who thought that way either.
As the film progressed, resembling a hill with all the ups and downs the film experienced in terms of story telling and plot, it feels as if the team of writers working on this film immediately saw some of the strengths and latched on to them, hoping to diminish some of the more used up horror motifs seen in other films. While this may sound like a negative observation, it isn’t.
Latching on to these strengths, in my book, made the film unique and a stand out from all the other terrible horror movie remakes and sequels out there today. With this in mind, the biggest strength for me in this film was a little plot line entitled, “The Crooked Man.”
A bit of a play on The Slender Man, The Crooked Man is like his much more terrifying older brother. He even has a little ditty to further creep you out if the very sight of him in a child’s toy didn’t do the job effectively enough.
Without further spoiling the plot, let’s just say Wan expertly used what I assume is a Claymation/CGI hybrid to make one of the most horrifying scenes I can remember from recent horror movie history. Honestly, that very scene alone was well worth the money I spent for my cushy seat.
Another asset that helped make the film something far more gratifying then what the writers may have set up for me otherwise was the collective performances from the entire cast. I could find not one flaw in any of the acting from the young cast, and I am notoriously harsh on the youngsters in the game, nor the adult cast.
The standouts in this case were of course the terrific lead the film had in a Miss Madison Wolfe, whom I can only see magnificent things for ahead of this mighty young talent, and the talented duo that is Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson who play Lorraine and Ed Warren respectively.
While I was at first apprehensive about the roles written out for the Warrens in this film, Farmiga and Wilson truly showed what they are made of and turned a mediocre plotline, and a bit overly romantic for a horror movie scene, into something that shows why these two are always Emmy, and Oscar, darlings.
All in all, the film is a slightly above average attempt at a horror movie sequel. While the film could have been better, especially with the material they had to work with, it isn’t a poor excuse for a movie in the world of Wan…I mean have you seen Annabelle or Dead Silence?
In comparison to its predecessor, it isn’t the best. That was a film I don’t believe will be topped for many years to come, but its sequel was a nice attempt, and at the very least I can say I enjoyed my time at the movies, which is more than I can say for a lot of movies produced in cinemas today, “cough Batman v Superman cough”.
So in this critic’s opinion, I don’t believe this is a film I can simply say is bad or good…for it is truly neither. All I can say for certain is it’s enjoyable and worth the price of its ticket. So sit back, relax, and remember to leave some room for that Holy Spirit.