The Conjuring 2 Review
If you are expecting to be freaked out, shocked and emotionally drained from scene after scene of perched-on-the-edge-of-your-seat horror, The Conjuring 2 delivers on all counts. James Wan has excelled once again with this frightening but also transfixing sequel, which encompasses horror, suspense, high drama but also fantasy and mythology. In this film Wan turns his attentions to the UK, specifically to the London suburb of Enfield, where another high profile supernatural case, the Enfield Hauntings, purportedly took place, involving the Hodgsons family and a particularly malevolent spirit.
Like its predecessor, based on the celebrated Amityville haunting, the Enfield Haunting was a highly reported alleged paranormal occurrence which took up many column inches in the late 70s. The crux of the drama entails a single mother with four kids, who were plagued by the ghost of the house's previous resident, Bill Wilkins. Wilkins’ specifically targets the middle daughter Janet, who is played brilliantly by the young Madison Wolfe; her switches from innocent, pale-looking and petrified little girl to destructive evil demon, are so believable it is truly chilling to watch, especially as things are only about to get worse for the Hodgsons, as its Janet’s body rather than the house that is haunted.
It is then that our leads make a much needed appearance;, Patrick Wilson’s goofy Ed Warren and Vera Farmiga’s concerned Lorraine, who appear to be in the throws of an existential crisis post their Amityville exorcism experience. Both are still haunted by ghosts, including the disturbing-looking, chalk white pasty faced nun who is particularly interested in tormenting Loraine.
Central to The Conjuring 2 are Wan’s all-consuming scenes of pulsating terror and tension which rely heavily on different perspectives; when one characters sees something truly shocking, often another character is blind to it. However, the viewers witness the full horror and indeed its confusing effects on the cast. One particular scene where Mrs Hodgson sees her daughter being grabbed from behind by the spirit as a door slams shut is especially terrifying as Wan’s ghostly world is one where tension is created by the presence of the ghosts themselves and only when they actually touch the characters do we know things are about to get really bad.
Still Wan manages to contrast his horror with other lighter moments; when it come to softer and more pleasant scenes which otherwise would be considered cheesy or soppy, the audience desperately craves some light relief. One such scene sees Ed playing an Elvis song on the guitar to the children in the living room, it’s a moment of sing-a-long positivity and despite all the negative mayhem that surrounds them, you almost want to sing along.
Furthermore Wan’s portrayal of London in the 70s in the film, is very impressive; from the clothes, the décor, the cars, the inside of the trains, the punks, the remote control to even Margaret Thatcher’s speech on TV, the attention to detail is remarkable. The Conjuring 2 is close to a masterpiece as horror films go. Visually stunning and arresting, it takes you in, messes you up and spits you out and you are left feeling like an emotional wreck, questioning why you put yourself through the trauma. Yet avidly we await for the possibility of The Conjuring 3.