James Wan is talented; we can all tell that already after seeing his work SAW and 2013’s The Conjuring. It’s not easy to create films that leave viewers not just scared but also highly disturbed by what they just saw. That’s something that Wan has mastered and brings to the table in all of his works. He does the best job of this most notably in the very second film in the Conjuring franchise. Conjuring 2 is a sign of how he’s grown as a horror filmmaker and that he’s willing to take bold risks.
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The Movie Review
The story follows Ed and Lorraine Warren as they head to England to work on the case of the Einfeld Poltergeist in the London Boroughs. The Conjuring 2 gives a much deeper look into Lorraine’s connection with the supernatural powers around her. When the Hodgson family’s girls experiment with the Ouija board, they’ve unexpectedly invited some guests from the other side of the world into their homes. Now it’s up to Ed and Lorraine to help the girls be free of their demonic possession and free the Hodgsons’ house from the ethereal dangers surrounding them.
James Wan donning the directorship for this movie was such a welcome comeback as Annabelle being directed by someone else was a total disaster. This time around though, consider the exact opposite of common horror tropes as Wan literally sits you down for a heart-to-heart with a literal spiritual entity.
His direction is much slower than in the previous film, but instead of consistently focusing on the demonic presence in this Hodgsons’ house, he also focuses on Lorraine’s growing fear of the Annabelle doll. He smartly incorporates the possessed doll from the previous film into the narrative here. While also creating whole new iconic poltergeists for us to fear such as the comically terrifying Bill Wilkins, an elderly ghost and original owner of the house. More so, Wan also explores how having knowledge of supernatural things could lead to terrifying visions through Lorraine’s eyes.
In terms of performances, you can never go wrong with Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. Their performance as the demon investigators was just as good as the previous installment if not better here. Not to mention, the supporting cast of Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney, and Frank Potente also do a stellar job with their roles.
The part where this movie does lack a bit is that it does seem to drag out its runtime with random scenes that do take you away from the overall experience. The conventional yet unique cinematography in a James Wan film is always fun to dissect. Each shot is seemingly quite regular yet possesses a ton of nuance with hidden symbolism and even actual proper ghosts in the shots. The terrifying nun even makes an appearance here, though for some reason only in the start and the ending of the film with not much point to her.
The Bottom Line
To sum it all up, The Conjuring 2 is probably my favorite film in the franchise. It explores an unconventional ghost and his quite unconventional reasons to be annoying a family. Yes, it does have a few issues with dragging its story and its overall effectiveness, yet it’s produced well enough and the shots themselves are scary enough to make you like it!