Director: James Wan
Writers: Chad Hayes (screenplay by), Carey W. Hayes (screenplay by)
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe
Plot: Ed and Lorraine Warren travel to North London to help a single mother raising 4 children alone in a house plagued by a supernatural spirit.
Running Time: 2 Hours 14 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 79% Audience 81%
Why I Watched It: Saw the first one and of course I was interested in what James Wan was going to do next with the franchise.
Random Thoughts: The Conjuring has very quickly created their own world, or shared universe if you will and I will say they’ve done it very naturally not heavy handed the stories flow into different things. Now I will say I didn’t care for the first Conjuring film, it was fine but it left me cold and I’m not sure why but it didn’t connect with me. I also think it’s nice that James Wan has done bigger non horror films but comes back to horror cause he really seems to like the genre and that shows in his films, he’s not slumming by doing these films.
What I Liked: Off the top I liked this one a lot better than the first, not sure why because at it’s core it’s a very similar story, like the first one this is an old time haunted house/possession story and for whatever reason this one really worked for me.
The ghosts and the demons in this film are not only scary but they’re unsettling and I can see why a couple of these are going to get their own films. I did find this film scary and very spooky but the thing that keeps this film going is Wilson and Farmiga, you not only by them as a couple but as a team and they ground the film. Without them I don’t think this works as well and I do think Patrick Wilson is becoming a go to genre guy.
The haunted house/demon stuff we’ve seen a million times but the family made mostly of kids, the standout being Madison Wolfe, is why you care and add the fact that it’s scary and you do actually fear for this family does help with the stakes, you are worried not very one will make it.
The Conjuring 2 does a very good balancing act of being a slick Hollywood horror film but also being very grounded and scary, they don’t rely on jump scares they build the scares, they don’t rush it and they build it through the fear and unease of the characters. I give James Wan a lot of credit cause this could have been a typical horror sequel, which means it could have been a cash grab and everyone just picks up a cheque but they told a different story, the same idea but a different spin. I do think setting it in London helped change it up as well.
What I Didn’t Like: It’s too long, I complain about this all the time but come on a horror sequel being over 2 hours is silly, granted the second half moved pretty well but the first third did drag. It would have been better if it was tighter.
The acting was good across the board except for Frances O’Connor as the mother she was a little over the top with her accent and her performance, and also they wasted Franka Potente in a nothing role, well not nothing but a really stock and cliched role.
Final Thoughts: A very well made and scary horror film.