I must admit, I haven’t seen 2013’s The Conjuring. I’ve heard good things about it though, and so I went into its sequel expecting big things. Did it deliver?
The Conjuring 2 centres on Ed and Lorraine Warren travelling to London in 1977 where single mother Peggy Hodgson and her daughter Janet are experiencing horrific paranormal activities. The Warren’s are initially only brought in to observe and report back to the church but soon they find that the claims aren’t a hoax and they are the only people who can help the family. It is based on a true story.
The fact that the film has roots in reality gives it a grounding not many other horror films have. It’s scarier because you know there’s a possibility it could be true. This sort of setting has been tried again and again but often the resulting movies drop the ball. Not since The Exorcist has a film managed to properly capture the fear of having something possibly be real, and execute.
This ended up with me walking through the carpark later that night and suddenly realising the sounds of the carpark were eerily similar to the tension-inducing sounds of the film. It was a fast trip back home.
The film had genuinely scary moments, where the entire audience was holding its breath, contorted into weird positions in their chairs, waiting for the inevitable shriek or face in the dark. Wan manages to hold tension throughout the films relatively lengthy 2 hour running time, offering relief through jump scares but immediately piling back on the rising feeling of horror. Personally, I’m more of a fan of psychological thrillers as opposed to jump-scare based horrors but The Conjuring 2 did the genre justice.
Wan knows the genre inside and out and knows exactly how to achieve the effects he wants. Dark corners, moving furniture, that feeling where you know something’s there but you can’t see it, it’s all present. The music and sound effects all pull on different parts of the atmosphere, drawing everything into a web of tension. Everything compounded into a testament to the horror genre.
Almost everything. The special effects seemed lacking the polish we’ve come to expect from movies like anything from Marvel or Weta Workshop’s latest effort, and while this is a very high bar to reach, it’s what the audience expects now. The Conjuring 2 had effects that worked, but more on a functional level. I felt a degree of removal when scenes had a CGI figure in them, but thankfully this happened maybe twice during the whole film.
Another part that I felt was a little bit lacking was the script. I won’t give anything away but there were too many cheesy one-liners to brush off.
Overall though, it’s worth the 2-hour running time. It’s a great entry into the genre and to add to Wan’s CV of films. If you’re a fan, it’s one not to miss!