Written by: Chad Hayes & Carey W. Hayes & James Wan and David Leslie Johnson, story by Chad Hayes & Carey W. Hayes & James Wan.
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, Lauren Esposito, Patrick McAuley, Benjamin Haigh, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Simon Delaney, Franka Potente, and Simon McBurney
The supernatural thriller brings to the screen another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.
It’s been three years since James Wan’s The Conjuring exploded into theaters becoming the second highest grossing original horror film of all time (behind The Exorcist), and finally the long awaited sequel is here.
This time, demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (played in great form by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) tackle the Enfield Poltergeist, arguably the most famous and well-documented haunting in history, aside from Amityville. The film makes sure to point out to us that this is indeed based on a true story, much like its predecessor. Both films are purported to be based on actual case files from the Warrens which for me just adds to the fun of the films.
I loved the first film. I found it to be a taut, tense, and refreshingly scary little film. For the most part, The Conjuring 2 carries on that tradition. It’s nearly as good as the first one with only a couple missteps. The worst of which is the escalated use of CGI, mostly to bring it’s demonic terror to life. Unfortunately, one sequence in particular just doesn’t work and it yanks you right out of the film, briefly thankfully but it’s still enough to wonder why they decided to do this. You’ll know it when you see it believe me. Aside from that hiccup, I found myself really enjoying the film.
Farmiga and Wilson are great in these roles and if I am being honest, I wanted to see more of them. They really bring these characters to life with such earnestness and sincerity that it’s hard not to like them and believe in them, even when we get some (largely unnecessary) romantic scenes between the two of them, it never feels forced or unnatural. They’re both perfectly cast and work really well together. Luckily, that extends to the rest of the cast as well. Everyone turns in some good work here. From the kids to the adults I can’t find a fault with anyone. Especially with Madison Wolfe, who plays Janet, the young girl most terrorized by the haunting. She gives a really great performance here and makes the events even more believable.
James Wan is really starting to grow on me as a director. He has a really interesting style which leads to some cool shots in the film. It’s really dynamic and leads to great set pieces and scenarios. He is definitely one to watch. I mean it might be late for that at this point. He’s made a name for himself in the genre and between this and the first one, I really want to explore his other films I may have missed.
Is this film perfect? No but it’s nearly as good as the original. It could have been better with a little restraint and a little less CGI trickery but it is still a great little horror movie. You’ll jump for sure. There are some truly chilling moments and these familiar characters are a welcome sight on the screen again. I’m already ready for The Conjuring 3, whatever it may be.
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.