James Wan returns with a more experienced sequel to his 2013 blockbuster summer hit, The Conjuring
James Wan continues to prove he’s our generation’s John Carpenter and just like Carpenter, Wan knows how to make today’s generation feel uneasy and terrified. Continuing like an anthology, The Conjuring 2 follows Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) as they investigate a haunting in Endfield, London.
Wan’s craftsmanship is really front and center in this movie. Most, if not all the film, relies on his particular craft and it never disappoints. The building of each scene has a lingering sense of dread and builds up to a scary climatic end. However, it could be easy to lose this sense of uneasiness, but Wan never lets that happen. While the audience knows that a scare and a loud bang is coming, the most important part is the viewer never knows when it’s coming. Playing off Hitchcock’s famous bomb quote, Wan takes it and runs with it getting inspired with this very quote while building each scene, each being scarier than the last.
The Conjuring 2 doesn’t try to reinvent the genre and it doesn’t have to. Just like the first Conjuring, everything has been done before, but James Wan does it better. Using practical effects and real actors as ghosts and demons make for more disturbing imagery. These are the images the audience will go home to see besides their bed-side tables. Other horror directors should take note, sometimes simplicity goes a long way.
Having great actors that help sell a movie like The Conjuring 2 can be a real challenge. The movie does go over the top at some moments yet, it never feels like it goes overboard and that’s because the actors give realistic portrayals of real characters. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson both deliver great performances as the paranormal couple. A lot of scenes depend on their acting abilities and they never once dissatisfy. They keep the movie grounded with powerful chemistry between each other and a surprisingly effective love story. Again, this story arc could’ve felt too cliché, they don’t shove it down the viewers’ throats which is the very reason it works so well.
While the third act was satisfying thanks to the movie’s ability to make its audience care about Farmiga and Wilson’s character, the climax does feel like a poor decision. It feels no doubt like a real possibility, but it just doesn’t transfer well on the big screen. It does, nevertheless, keep the credibility of the film’s ‘base on a true story’ gimmick after some questionable ‘Hollywood moments’. It’s also worth noting that parts of the third act do feel earned while others feel forced.
The Conjuring 2 is a well crafted, beautifully shot and effectively terrifying sequel that does outshine its processor in more ways than none. It’s not just a story about ghosts, but a story about faith and marriage coming together to fight evil. The premise of the story may not be real but the characters have real emotions and real motives. Even though skeptics may not buy into the whole story, The Conjuring 2 still offers some genuine characters moments and some truly skillfully made scares.
The Conjuring 2 is released on June 10.