The Conjuring 2

Film, Horror
3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(4user reviews)
The Conjuring 2

'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.

By: Tom Huddleston

Posted:

Release details

Release date:
Friday June 17 2016
Duration:
134 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
James Wan
Screenwriter:
Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, James Wan, David Johnson
Cast:
Vera Farmiga
Patrick Wilson
Frances O'Connor

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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tastemaker

I never saw the Conjuring 1 but the sequel is totally unrelated so it really doesn't matter. There are plenty of jumpy moments and suspense-building scenes in this film, made even creepier given the fact that it is based on a true story. If you are hoping for a deep and thrilling plot line you won't find it here. The characters are under developed, with vague hints of depth to them which are disappointingly never followed up on. There are also moments when it might have been better not to see what was haunting them and leave it up to our imagination rather than the slightly comical apparitions. However, there are plenty of scream-worthy moments which makes it worth a watch.

tastemaker

I hadn’t seen the first of The Conjuring films, but this didn’t seem to matter as the second of the films does refer back to gives an overview of as much as you need to know – there wasn’t too much emphasis on the previous happenings. I had however watched a 3 part mini drama series last year on Sky Living called the Enfield Haunting which was also based on the true story of the haunting at the Hodgson family residence, but the two delivered it in very different ways so I’ll touch on both...

For me The Conjuring 2 was very exaggerated and over the top, but to be honest what you’d expect from a movie of this kind. It a bit clichéd in the way it relies on the same old scare tactics (overly theatrical music which then goes silent then something jumps out, you know the drill) however admittedly did the job of have be jumping out of my skin more times than I could count which is the best thing I can say about this film.

That said there were parts I found very cheesy and were it was just a bit too Hollywood, particularly the portray of the America couple Ed and Lorraine Warren who were paranormal researchers on the case - this was just a bit overbearing for my liking and for lack of a better word were just CRINGE! I also found it interesting as they were not represented in The Enfield Haunting at all, and now having read up a little on the “real story” with the help of http://www.historyvshollywood.com only highlighted further how loosely based on the true story this film was, as I understand that that the Warrens were hardly involved in the case had apparently showed up uninvited and only stayed for a day.

Therefore I believe The Enfield Haunting stayed truer to life, Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair were far more focused on – whereas Maurice was almost a redundant character in the film who they only lightly touch upon the death of his daughter which seemed like a bit of a random afterthought on the script, this was much better portrayed in the TV series and really gave his character more depth, and Guy on the other hand well he didn’t make it on to the big screen adaptation! Though the TV series was slower paced and didn’t play up to the horror anywhere near as much or fabricate the story to the same extent, instead keeps it more realistic and just a bit creepy and eerie.

On a side note, I also feel the need to say I felt there was a casting issue with newcomer Lauren Esposito as Margaret Hodgson, her North London accent wasn’t nearly strong enough in comparison to the rest of the family (I have since found out she’s Australian) and might just be me but I noticed a resemblance to Gigi Hadid which I found distracting!

If you’re looking for out-and-out spine tingling horror you’re likely to be disappointed as I felt it doesn’t leave you with any real sense of fear, it’s more just unsettling at times as it plays on suspense and thrills. If you manage your expectations, then I’d say it’s worth a watch.

Tastemaker

If you like horror movies, you are going to love this. The exact dose of ghosts, exorcismism, creepy music and a crazy girl as the main character. Much better than previous Conjuring 1.


'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?