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The Conjuring 2 Review


Putting aside the much debated authenticity of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s real life investigations into the paranormal, there is no denying James Wan’s adaption of one of their cases, 2013’s The Conjuring, was a fantastic throwback to old school horrors of the 70’s, where atmosphere trumped gore and the slightest noise could serve as the gateway to genuine, jump out of your seat moments. After a brief foray into the high octane world of fast cars and outrageous stunts with Fast & Furious 7, Wan brings the Warrens (again played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) back to the big screen with a sequel that tackles the case of The Enfield Poltergeist, probably the most documented case of ghostly activity after Amityville (another of the couple’s case, which also gets a look in here).

For those in the dark, in 1977 the Hodgson family’s council house in the north London borough of Enfield was plagued by paranormal activity, everything from demonic voices booming through the house to the children levitating above their beds. A huge media circus descended on the house, with many experts labelling it a hoax and criticising paranormal investigators who they felt fell for it hook, line, and sinker. This however didn’t stop the Enfield case being the subject of many books, movies, and t.v. shows. The fact The Conjuring 2 exists is testament to how enduring the events are.

For the sake of the movie, we’re in ‘based on a true story’ territory here, and while much of the proceedings are fudged for the sake of narrative, credit has to go to Wan for being true to real life as he can with certain moments from the case being recreated shot for shot, and seamlessly weaving his own story into the real life events. The focus is very much on the Warrens here, and while it takes nearly an hour for the couple to touch down in a stereotypically rainy London town, the setting of this particular chess board is done effortlessly and how he knocks down each piece in quick succession goes to further prove that he is a true master of modern horror. He wastes no time in covering the movie with a suffocating fog of foreboding and dread, turning the screws tighter and tighter with each   paranormal attack. The family’s fear after each incident feels terrifyingly genuine, and we’re witness to incredibly unnerving set pieces as the story moves forward. Wan’s time with Vin Diesel and the gang sees him go a bit flashier than the original, incorporating some ingenious tracking shots into his horror repertoire, which only goes to bolster the scares than overshadow them as he folds his action movie experience into his already considerable skills with horror.

There are no jump scares here (it even has to chance to end on one as every horror movie these days does, but seems to decide against it at the last minute), instead the chills coming from genuinely creepy moments like Ed’s first encounter with the entity harassing the Hodgson’s, which features a masterful use of shallow focus. All we get to see is Ed’s face, while a ghostly shape barely visible in the background, and it’s the most effective scene from any horror in recent years. The rest of the scares follow this approach, Wan rewarding the audience with some genuinely earned jump out of your seat moments. The story chugs along at a great pace, with each player playing their part perfectly and some top notch humour peppered through out, and while it may feel like it slows down at point, especially a second lull that stays on the right side of saccharine, it rarely runs out of steam and the slow down only goes to build the sense of dread as the finale inches ever closer.

While horror sequels usually work on the law of diminishing returns, that is not the case with The Conjuring 2, delivering an incredibly polished, rewarding experience worthy of the amazing original.


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The Movie Bit: The Conjuring 2 Review
The Conjuring 2 Review
The Movie Bit
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