It’s quite possible that The Conjuring 2 is the most sentimental horror film of recent years. The Conjuring films set out to create a horrifying experience without almost any bloodshed or death; the first succeeding in this mission while even earning an 18 certificate for sheer ‘horror’ alone. The second is somewhat less efficient in its efforts. Wan and company have attempted to one-up the first film, and the result is something that often comes across as a little gratuitous.
If The Conjuring bears the marks of a director getting back into the groove of independent horror filmmaking, The Conjuring 2 bears the marks of a director who just filmed a Fast and Furious sequel. It’s an excessive horror film, where it isn’t enough just to present an image or moment that simply seems wrong, but where this also has to be telegraphed with the usual variety of loud noises. This is where the sequel flounders in comparison. The first act appears somewhat over-directed, Wan’s camera refusing to ever sit still – repeatedly using the same sweeping, fast panning shot in the introduction of interior spaces, to the point where it sometimes feels like a 4D theme park ride.
Once the camera settles down, however, Wan is still effective in creating memorable and horrific imagery that lingers in the mind, as well as moments of levity in-between that are surprisingly genuine and sweet. However, for every moment that is perfectly executed, there is another that doesn’t quite stick the landing.
While it goes too far in many respects (see: Vera Farmiga miming shotgun blasts), James Wan has delivered a passable sequel to his highly acclaimed exorcism flick. The Conjuring 2 may be haphazard and over-the-top in places, but it is by no means a dull experience.
CAST: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe
DIRECTOR: James Wan
WRITERS: James Wan, Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, David Leslie Johnson
SYNOPSIS: Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.