When a horror film grosses over $300 million worldwide, you can’t be too surprised when a studio decides to green light a sequel.
Three years after the release of financial and critical success of The Conjuring, James Wan is back to bring us The Conjuring 2.
The Conjuring 2 follows the highly documented ‘Enfield Haunting’, a true story of supernatural occurrences that took place in Enfield, England. Patrick Wilson & Vera Farmiga return as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, as they seek to get to the bottom of the case that has been named ‘England’s Amityville’.
Now, as a general rule, horror sequels tend to fall somewhat short of their predecessors. Sinister 2, Psycho 2 and Paranormal Activity 2 are all shining examples that – at least within the horror genre. However, we are pleased to report that on this occasion, we have an exception.
The Conjuring 2 is a great horror film. In a genre that feels so saturated with absolute garbage, it’s a pleasant surprise to see a sequel not only match the original – but perhaps better it. Full of genuine tension and real, visceral scares, The Conjuring 2’s effectiveness (we think) can be put down to two factors.
The first factor is James Wan’s brilliant direction and complete understanding of the horror genre – as others do not seem to be quite on target. When a bird flies towards the screen and it is accompanied by a ridiculously loud noise… THAT ISN’T SCARY! Sure it makes you jump, but you have achieved nothing more than that… a jump. Cheap scares like this are exactly what you need to avoid. Wan understands this. Yes, The Conjuring 2 has ‘jump scares’ but when something makes you jump, it’s something that is SUPPOSED to scare you. It isn’t a cat falling out of a wardrobe as a high pitched screech assaults your ear drums.
Wan uses new methods and incorporates different camera techniques to build tension so effectively that we can do nothing but applaud the man. He doesn’t rely on fading all of the ambient noise out of a film and then blasting a loud gong to scare us; he uses stunning visuals that succeed so well in their purpose to be unsettling, that you aren’t just scared for that fraction of a second. You’re terrified seeing these disturbing images unfold in front of you… images that will burn into your psyche and scare you long after the credits roll. That is horror.
Partnering this, are the characters and the performances they have given. Wan does such an impeccable job of giving the Warrens touching moments throughout the film, that it makes them characters you begin to care about.
Wilson and Farmiga effortlessly pull you into their relationship – so that when they are faced with dangerous situations, the tension is all the more brutal because you are rooting for these people. If you ask us, they certainly cannot be classified as disposable characters that you couldn’t care less if they lived or died. It makes scenes of terror meaningful.
Our only major gripe would be that sometimes the film tries to have these lighter, funnier moments and they don’t really seem to land. The tone doesn’t really set up jokes, so when they happen it’s almost a bit jarring. It sort of leaves you puzzled for a brief moment – as if you aren’t watching the same film.
This is but a small reservation though, and should in no way serve as a reason to not see The Conjuring 2. It is beautifully filmed and expertly acted horror that we think in 20 years time, will find itself amongst the classics of the genre.
8/10 for us!
Have you seen The Conjuring 2? Were you as scared as we were? Let us know by tweeting us at @CelebMix!