The Conjuring 2(2016)
- RatedNC16 /GenreHorror
Just how does one top what could be his greatest achievement?
The feat: Making one of the scariest films ever that’s also the second highest grossing original horror movie of all time, second only to ‘The Exorcist’.
Is it a tall order? Not for James Wan.
The Malaysian-born director brings out his proverbial Ouija board to raise hell once again with ‘The Conjuring 2’.
The first movie was a horror movie-making masterclass, employing a nuanced approach with well-worn (and familiar) horror tropes. The result, though predictable, works.
MORE: ‘The Conjuring’ review
With a bigger sandbox to play in, renewed confidence (he did direct the recent ‘Furious 7’ after all), Wan keeps his promise to make your hairs stand on end.
If you think that 'The Conjuring' was scary, wait till you see this one.
Like the first one, the movie follows the efforts of paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga).
‘The Conjuring 2’ picks up a long six years after the first one left off, and over those years the Warrens have become both more famous and more criticised, facing widespread accusations of fraud. They come out of a self-imposed sabbatical and travel to northern London to help a family in trouble.
As luck would have it, single mother Peggy (Frances O’Connor) and her four children are plagued by an unknown malevolent entity in their home. Daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe) seems to bear the brunt of the haunting when the spirit starts to speak through her.
Once again, Wan delivers effective scares; exploiting sinewy long takes to build a slow creep. He still keeps to the classical horror vein but what’s jarring here though is the use of CGI for some scares -- a surprising departure when the first one mostly used practical effects.
As proceedings get creepier, ‘The Conjuring 2’ maintains an unexpectedly warm grip on its characters: the Hodgsons and Warrens are credible, flawed families we can root for, even amid the spooked-up going-ons that surrounds them.
Wilson and Farmiga, yet again bring a sort of deadpan credibility to their characters’ take on the strange happenings.
While Wilson delivers more of the same earnest performance as Ed, it is Farmiga that has the arduous task of expounding on the pair’s relationship.
In the first ‘Conjuring’, Wilson’s character was the protective one, but the tables are turned here and Farmiga turned in an affective performance as a woman overwhelmed by the – figurative and literal – demons that plagued her.
What’s interesting here is also how Wan adds a hint of scepticism to the hauntings – is it real or just a cleverly orchestrated hoax? How much you choose to believe or disbelieve is entirely up to you.
The satisfying scares, not to mention, its striking collision of past and present are what that sets ‘The Conjuring 2’ apart from most horror sequels.
‘The Conjuring 2’ opens 9 June 2016