The fascination with the paranormal has been around for decades. The last few years, we’ve seen a spike in its popularity with tv shows that flood the airwaves and movies that fill theatres. James Wan’s “The Conjuring” series is but one of many films about hauntings. Mr. Wan’s movie series separates itself by focusing on the true life story of paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warren’s have taken in part in many investigations over the years, most famously they were among the first to investigate the Amityville haunting. The first Conjuring film was a successful haunted house scare fest that was hit at the hit at the box office. James Wan, riding the wave of success of the first film, has prepared another chapter in the life of the Warren’s with the “Conjuring 2.”
“The Conjuring 2” picks up a few years after the events in the original film. The Warren’s have just investigated the Amityville haunting. During the investigation, Mrs. Warren has a vision that involves the demise of her husband and a powerful entity the likes of which Mrs. Warren has never felt.
One year later across the Atlantic in England another famous haunting is about to take place. A rift in the Hodgson family has seen their father leave them for another woman. Raising four kids on her own, Mrs. Hodgson’s second eldest begins seeing things in her dreams that she speaks to. Unbeknownst to the family an entity has possessed the home wanting them to leave. The Warren’s are called in to help relieve the family of the possession. What’s behind this entity’s presence is more sinister, and more dangerous than the family can imagine, but all too familiar to the Warren’s.
“The Conjuring 2” is an exceptionally frightening follow up to the original. The movie sees the return of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Mr. and Mrs. Warren. This duo is just as good here as they were in the first film. Their characterization of the Warren’s is one of a loving couple and one that understand each other’s body language and emotional ticks. Their paranormal investigation and the Hodgson family that’s being haunted really are the stars of the show here. The spirits that are responsible for the haunting can lean on familiar haunted house tropes, but when the filmmakers try more inventive ways to frighten you, they are truly successful. James Wan’s main demonic force is one that truly scares and evokes a sinister tone. The demon not only scares, but whose look is unique and one of nightmares.
“The Conjuring 2” is a classic, methodically paced haunted house film. In a film world full of horror movies of fast cuts, under cooked killers, and immense amounts of blood and gore, it’s refreshing to watch a movie that leans on classic psychological frights that take the time to develop and that an audience can invest in. The movie does suffer from a few sub-plots that are underdeveloped and the character of the Warren’s daughter vanishes without a trace after her brief, but intriguing appearance. Even with the film’s imperfections, this is one scary Summer film that treats it’s audience as adults. It’s story and scares will enthrall even the most discerning horror film aficionado.