Warren For a Good Scare: THE CONJURING 2 (2016) Review

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When the film opens, we find Ed and Lorraine Warren in the Amityville Horror house, where Lorraine has a horrific visions and wants to swear off any more cases. It isn’t long before the Amityville case becomes considered a hoax, resulting in many disbelieving the Warrens. In England, a single mother and her children become the target of an entity whose prime focus is her 11-year-old daughter. Hesitant, Ed and Lorraine investigate the case, encountering the supernatural in ways they never experienced.

The original film is one of the few to really scare me during my theater experience, I was startled numerous times, and my heart was pounding through a great amount of the film. While there are things in the sequel that are improved on in the sequel, there are also things that I feel didn’t quite work. For one thing, I was not impressed with the length at 2 hours and 15 minutes. I can’t say it wasn’t boring, but I found myself thinking that it needs to wrap up already. I can understand that they really wanted to develop the characters this time around, and they certainly did, but I felt they went a tad overboard. The family was really likable and you felt sorry for them, but there is only many “aww” moments you can use before you start thinking “okay, we get it, we’re supposed to feel sorry for them.” Had it shaved at least 20/25 minutes off, it would have been more satisfactory.

What I did like about this film is that it really gave focus to Ed and Lorraine’s relationship as well as them as people, while still giving plenty of time with this new family. In a moment where Ed plays music for the family in hopes of cheering them up, as cheesy as it was, it was a genuinely nice moment that really made you love the characters, and you can sense the love between Ed and Lorraine just from the looks they give each other (thanks to fantastic performances by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson). Though what semi-hurt the film for me was that the scariness felt much to familiar. While there were some nice and creepy moments, I felt this film relied way too much on jump scares that have been done to death in other supernatural films. The use of cgi and special effects were also something that didn’t work for it. Any actual scary moments in this film were done completely without this. For example, there was a scene with Lorraine and this painting that gave me the creeps and had me on edge. Small moments like this can do a lot. As for the story itself, it was still engaging and I enjoyed how it toyed with how people perceive the paranormal has a hoax. In a twist towards the end involving how the haunting is happening, it felt really far-fetched, but hey, if that’s what happened in the real case, who am I to question it? I should also add that is amazingly filmed and uses many filming techniques to make certain scenes scarier, one involving a hallway in Ed and Lorraine’s house gave me huge chills (even if it reminded me of another particular movie involving a hallway).

As stated above, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farming knock it out of the park with their performances in this one and really bring much more humanity to Ed and Lorraine, the chemistry is extremely believable, and their own performances are perfect and feel genuine. However, it is newcomer Madison Wolfe who provides the best performance of the film as Janet, the prime target of the entity. In moments where Janet is showing grief, loneliness, and helplessness Wolfe really knows how to break hearts and make you want to comfort her. But in the moments where she plays off possession, it really came off as scary and shocking to where she could give Linda Blair a run for her money. The behavior is just intense and you are in disbelief that not only a child, but this newcomer could pull off something as grand as this.

While the film didn’t provide the scares and horror I felt during the first film, and it runs an excessive length, it is still a satisfactory sequel with an engaging case story, characters, excellent cinematography, and performances to make it a worthy sequel and entry in the supernatural genre.

–Cody Landman

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