The Conjuring 2 (2016)

The follow-up to the widely acclaimed The Conjuring, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) don their spooky investigative hats and head to Enfield, London to help Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor) and her four children banish the evil presence that has been terrorising their home, and supposedly possessing one of the girls, Janet – only to find themselves targets of the spirit.

James Wan is an excellent storyteller, and shows this by being able to produce a sequel that in many aspects is a re-hash of the original, and yet still retains a level of freshness and individuality throughout. Whilst the story itself is well-documented and as such runs the risk of being almost tedious to watch, the film is given a deserved breath of life with clever script-writing, “Ed, this is as close to hell as I ever want to get.”, and a close attention to visual detail – proven when the end credits roll and we see images from the set juxtaposed with original photos from the house.

I found the link between Enfield and Amityville where the film starts, tenuous. Perhaps it was a ploy of sorts to pander to a wider audience, but to me it seemed like cheap and easy exposition – most everyone knows the story of The Amityville Horror, and so a lot can go unsaid.

I found the film enjoyable. It didn’t rock my world, nor was I disgraced in any way by it. There were some parts I found wonderfully shot – the scene where Janet phases into Bill Wilkins and back again out of focus whilst being interviewed by Ed was a truly smart use of CGI, and gave depth and chill to what could have been a relatively tame encounter. Madison Wolfe gave an excellent performance as Janet, her fear palpable. And that bit with the fire-truck and the tent? Creeped me out good and proper. However there were some points that didn’t sit right with me – the “Crooked Man” scene is a good example of that. I found the brazen and obvious use of that kind of CGI in a film set in 1977, with a distinctly aged feel, pretty jarring. I feel like it was an interesting avenue to explore, but failed somewhat in the execution, leaving me a little disassociated with the film for a time.

In all, I would say The Conjuring 2 is definitely worth the watch, and a worthy sequel to “The Conjuring”. It was well-acted, cleverly-portrayed and pretty chilling at times. One for the watch list.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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