'Real life' ghost-hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren head for North London to flush out a spook
Do you believe in ghosts? The answer could seriously affect your enjoyment of this old-school supernatural sequel. If it’s yes, you’re in for a fun night at the movies: a smart, convincingly creepy account of a ‘real-life’ haunting. If it’s a no, you may find this a far less comfortable experience: a story of the exploitation – abuse even– of four young children by a group of shameless hucksters, portrayed here as heroes.
‘The Conjuring 2’ knows which side its bread is buttered on. There’s barely a scintilla of doubt in this reworked chronicle of the Enfield haunting case that gripped London in the late 1970s. When Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor) and her four children begin experiencing strange phenomena in their suburban home – rattlings, clatterings and old-man apparitions – they call on Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga), self-styled paranormal experts from across the pond. Even they, at first, experience a moment’s pause, but then youngest daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe) starts speaking in growls, things start flying around the living room and before you can say ‘Hollywood overkill’ Lorraine’s whipping out her Bible and yelling at the spirits to leave the poor mites alone.
After ‘Insidious’ and ‘The Conjuring’, director James Wan has his method down. The scares are effective and the camerawork is superb, all lurking long shots and short sharp shocks. Wan is fully aware of the austerity-era parallels in his story, and the period detail is surprisingly authentic, provided you can get past a few ropey gorblimey accents (notably O’Connor’s). But there’s little here we haven’t seen before, and unless you’re willing to suspend a whole lot of disbelief, the God-bothering certainty of it all is pretty disconcerting. There’s a great, conflicted drama to be made about the Enfield case; this isn’t quite it.
Cast and crew
Average User Rating
3.3 / 5
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'Strong horror' says the BBFC classification description for this film and some might say that the use of 'strong' is perhaps a bit, well, 'strong'. Wan can definitely turn on eerie, dread, and suspense in his audience at the drop of a hat with clever but by now fairly routine use of sound and camerawork. It makes for an entertaining 2 hours in a ghost train sort of way, and I enjoyed it more than the first Conjuring film, but as a film it has the emotional impact of a ghost train, in other words, next to none. The Conjuring 3 is clearly to be expected - more of the same?