The Conjuring 2
Starring Frances O’Connor, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Simon McBurney, Sterling Jerins
For better or worse, director James Wan has become the most sought after mainstream horror movie director. His ability to turn modestly priced thrillers like “The Conjuring” (2013), “Insidious” 1 & 2 (2010/2013) into cash cows have made him the studios golden boy. Wan’s career began with the now defunct horror series “Saw” in 2003 and reached its pinnacle in 2015 when he was tapped to direct “Furious 7”. Wan turned down millions upon millions, as he stepped away from the 8th Fast & Furious film, to deliver a sequel to his most critically acclaimed film. “The Conjuring 2”, much like it’s predecessor, has something most horror pictures do not; documents, evidence and 89-year-old Lorraine Warren (played by Farmiga) with whom the experiences have been based. Wan and his team try and recapture the originality of the first film but the story isn’t as good, Lili Taylor is sorely missed and with the long running time and chopping editing make it feel like the sequel it is.
“After all we have seen, not much rattles us,” Lorraine Warren (Farmiga) says. During their involvement with 1976 The Amityville Horror case, Lorraine experienced something that scared her worse than any of their previous cases. “That’s as close to hell as I ever want to get”, she says. The Warrens take a break from assisting those in need with paranormal problems, due to Lorraine’s warning, that maybe they have meddled too close. In 1977 the church from Enfield, North London call Ed Warren (Wilson) for help with the Hodgson family who are being tormented by something in their home. Single mother Peggy (O’Connor) lives in poverty, trying to raise four young children, one of which seems to be possessed by someone who died in the house.
It sounds and looks like the original but is too negatively influenced by its inferior rivals.
“The Conjuring” worked so well because the Hayes Brothers script lent itself to character development, greatly aided by talented actors. The audience was given time and reason to care about the people featured in the story; after all it’s based on true events. While “The Conjuring 2” tries to stick with the same pattern, it understands that The Warren’s are now central figures, and feels compelled to cut back and forth between familiar characters and the new case they will be handling. By the time the two stories converge, we are well beyond the first hour. “The Conjuring 2” drags its feet at a daunting 133 minutes, which will feel like an eternity for those who remain in a tense state of mind throughout the film. Kirk M. Morri’s editing is questionable here, but Wan is to blame as his predilection to give the viewer more jump scares and disturbing images to which he has been overly praised for in the past.
A flooded dark basement, dilapidated three story house, gangly looking children; this film spends more time on the typical horror movie elements than the movement of the story. “The Conjuring 2” is scary but not compelling. It sounds and looks like the original but is too negatively influenced by its inferior rivals. It’s as if the studio leaned on Wan’s vision to include more horror ingredients than the films needs or that were a part of The Warren’s documented investigation. Most people attending these types of films just want to be scared and can’t tell the difference in quality from “The Babadook” to “Ouija”. That’s what made “The Conjuring” above average because it offered a compelling story, great performances, scares and more. “The Conjuring 2” loses its equilibrium giving into the same cheap stuff you can find with any movie in the genre.
Once again the horror genre reminds us you can’t just leave a good movie alone, you must degrade it with lesser than sequels and prequels.