The Conjuring 2 (2016)

4:25 PM

The Next True Story from the Case Files of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
This review contains minor spoilers
 The Conjuring 2 is directed by James Wan (Insidious, Furious 7) and stars Vera Farmiga (The Departed, Up in the Air), Patrick Wilson (Insidious, Watchmen), Frances O'Connor (The Missing, Mr. Selfridge) and Madison Wolfe. "Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits". The first Conjuring was a breakout hit - in terms of quality and financially, it was then followed by the not-so-great but still successful Annabelle - which film will The Conjuring 2 follow the lead of?

Finally 2016 gives us a satisfying sequel! This year in film has been pretty mediocre so far - I can't even make a top 10 list as I can't get to 10 films that deserve to be on the list. Every week it feels like a new sequel is being released and this week is The Conjuring 2. I am very satisfied with this film and it is definitely the best horror of the year so far (and last year) and one of the best films to come out of 2016 yet. The Conjuring 2 manages to recapture what was good about the first film and just add some more development to the characters, Admittedly, it doesn't really do much different or new to the first film but that doesn't make it a bad film - The Conjuring 2 is definitely worth a watch. 

I thought the acting was fantastic in this film - its predecessor and this seem to be the rare horrors that can avoid bad performances. I thought both Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson reprised their roles as the Warrens fantastically - they both had exceptionally strong performances. The members of the family being haunted also put on strong performances - Frances O'Connor was a believable mum and Madison Wolfe was terrific - she was scary and creepy but also quite likeable and the audience could empathise with her. Horror films always take risks when they include child actors but all of the youngsters in The Conjuring 2 did a really good job. The acting definitely adds to the sophisticated tone that this film has which makes it superior to most horror films that are released. 

I will also admit that I wasn't as scared by this film as I was the first one. However, I put that down to the simple reason that I was 15 when I watched it and I wasn't too familiar with the horror genre back in 2013 - I was just dipping my toes into it. Now in 2016, I am currently 17 and watch most horrors that are released so I am familiar with the modern tropes and techniques. Even though this film didn't scare me as much as last time - it is definitely extremely frightening with jump scares around every corner from start to finish. I thought both scare factors were also terrifying - both the nun and the old man are not things I would want to be thinking about before I fall asleep. I also appreciate that there are no pointless jump scares - all of the scares are due to something frightening and horrific that is happening on screen - this shows that Wan is a master of the genre in modern day.

Who would think that I would notice cinematography in a horror film? Well I did for The Conjuring 2. Particularly for the first half of the film, I thought the film was shot in a very different and effective way - the camera moved so smoothly, every time it moved it was like peering into a dark alleyway - you felt the camera turn which gave you time to worry about what was about to be on screen. I think this once again shows James Wan being an excellent director as he has a style and makes great choices. The Conjuring 2 is just an extremely well made film - it feels like time and effort has been put into it - with the cinematography, visual effects, plot, research, acting etc - everyone is there because they want to be and care about the art of film. Another sequence that I really liked is when the nun's shadow is walking around the room and then meets the painting - this was different and very effective. 

The story for the film was your typical haunting/poltergeist kind of story - however, it is inspired by one of the most famous paranormal events of all time so this plot only feels typical because many other horrors like to rip it off - least this one is actually based on the event. I liked how the film showed both the Warrens and the family having trouble with paranormal activity and how they eventually came together. I also thought it was great to see some development to the Warrens - they have a daughter who I think is a character that could be explored further in future projects and their relationship is a big theme throughout the film - it was actually quite heartfelt. I also thought it was refreshing for the film to show a balanced argument - not everyone believes in the supernatural and at times, many believe this family is making everything up and it is all a hoax. The fact that this is a true story is once again scary and I would recommend you stay for the first parts of the credits as the actual recording of one of the scenes in the film is played and it is very similar which is even more scary. The credits were very effective (like the majority of the film). The only problem with The Conjuring 2 is that it is more of the same and it didn't really do much different - similarly to The Force Awakens. I also thought the final sequence was a little rushed and didn't match the tension the final sequence of the first film created. 

The Conjuring 2 is on par with its predecessor - mainly because it is just more of the same. I think I can appreciate this one slightly more as I am older and I could pay more attention to the quality of the film rather than how the scares impacted me. I thought the acting was brilliant and the scares were very effective. The camerawork was really nice and definitely added to the tension. I can't wait to see what the future brings for The Conjuring franchise as it is definitely a series I like. The Conjuring 2 is probably one of the best sequels of the year and possibly one of the best horror sequels of all time. 

4 STARS
A-

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