Thursday, October 27, 2016

Movie Review: The Conjuring 2 (2016)

The Conjuring 2 movie poster
The Conjuring 2 (2016) - Directed by James Wan; Written by Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, Wan, David Johnson; Starring Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Frances O'Connor, Madison Wolfe, Lauren Esposito, Benjamin Haigh, Simon McBurney.

By Kenny Howell

I came into The Conjuring 2 with the same baggage I had with the first one.

Ghost hunting just seems so silly to me. I don't believe in them obviously, so people running around yelling at nothing is just so funny to me.

So when I watch The Conjuring films I have to suppress the desire to picture what was really going on in these situations. When Patrick Wilson is saving a little girl's by keeping her from falling out of a window, while Vera Farmiga is screaming at a demon, I really want to picture what was really happening which was Farmiga's real life counterpart screaming at the ceiling, while everyone is more frightened of her than the ghost.

All that said, I like The Conjuring movies. Director James Wan understands the genre, and knows how to just make this what it needs to be - escapist fare. Could do without the "Based on a True Story" title card at the beginning, because that is obviously there just to make it seem more scary, but whatever, you got to sell tickets I guess.

Wilson and Farmiga return as Ed and Lorraine Warren, the church-hired ghost hunters that gained fame with the Amityville horror, which of course, was a hoax. They move on to jolly old England, when a mother and her kids from north London are haunted by a man that used to live in the house. The youngest daughter seems to be possessed by a demon, so the Warrens come in to see if they can help.

Wan really understands the importance of silence and using the background space efficiently. He does rely on jump scares a bit more than he did in the first film, but they work for the most part. He also lets Wilson and Farmiga do their thing. Wilson has been a talented presence for years, but he has really taken control of leading man roles in the last few years in stuff like this and the TV show Fargo. He makes Ed Warren kind of a badass, which make it a bit more weird that he is paired with the strange ghost communicator in Farmiga, but they do have good chemistry. Everyone here really knows what they are doing here on the screen and off, and despite the silliness of the stories behind these films, the stories within are a lot of fun.

Rating: ***

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