I’m a little picky when it comes to what horror movies I watch. I’m not into hack-and-slash flicks and bad CGI-heavy films are not my style. However, I do have a soft spot for paranormal activity films with an emphasis on creepy versus jump-out-of-your-seat scary. I like it when a film gets under your skin and you have to keep checking your back to make sure nothing lurks behind you. If you’re like me, then you’re going to like The Conjuring 2.
Taking elements from classic horror films, this movie instantly creates a nostalgic setting to transport the viewer to 1970s London where the Warren family is on their next case. The film begins with the demonic visions that plague Lorraine, a clairvoyant, that warn her of a future where her husband dies tragically while doing his job.
Based on real life people, the Warrens are paranormal investigators hot off their successful cases seen in The Conjuring and Annabelle and there are also hints of their involvement with The Amityville Horror case. Ed Warren, played by the charismatic Patrick Wilson, is frustrated with their media appearances and the people who try to undermine their success by calling foul on everything while Lorraine, played by Oscar-nominee Vera Farmiga, sees this as an opportune time to stop taking cases.
Meanwhile in London, a single mom and her four children start experiencing strange occurrences throughout their house. The youngest daughter, Janet, played by Madison Wolfe, wakes up in rooms she didn’t fall asleep in and begins to converse with shadows. The film takes the time to flesh out this family for us: this is a woman whose husband took everything and left her with four children in their formative years. She can barely afford food but the family is doing what they can to hold themselves up. Their sadness at the sudden departure of their father is the first raindrop in a major downpour about to fall on their home.
These two families eventually meet after the Church is asked to consult on the case. The Warrens are to go in and find out if the family’s claims are true or a hoax. This is not a hoax though. It becomes very real, very quickly.
The movie’s scare techniques focus heavily on silence or simple instruments to build the suspense as the next phenomena occurs. There is a noticeable lack of major CGI animation save for one entity, but I think it was done purposefully. I enjoyed the stop-motion treatment the entity received, reminding me of a darker Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. The twitchy style and overarching limbs gave the right effect, but the best sequences in the movie involved two-dimensional images taking on a third dimension. The screams felt real versus stock and the makeup work was kept to a minimum on most characters to achieve a realistic feel to the world. The only unrealistic images the film wanted focus on were the demonic presences terrorizing the family.
The story was easy to follow and took from real events that I researched afterwards to compare. It turns out a lot of the story was true, which made for an exciting reflection in my dark bedroom when I couldn’t fall asleep anymore. What surprised me the most was the story’s somewhat cheerful ending and positive attitude. The Warrens loved each other dearly and were a model couple. Lorraine Warren is still alive and kicking at 89 and Ed Warren lived until the ripe age of 79.
Knowing the history will spoil the ending for you, but the movie is still enjoyable. I found the actors well cast and the dialog well written with many things quoted word for word from transcripts of the event.
This is a fun film for anyone who is looking for a good, creepy movie. This may not give you nightmares, but it may make you think twice about threadbare La-Z-Boys.
4 Creaking Chairs out of 5