My wife and I did an advance screening of the original conjuring, and we absolutely loved the movie. So it’s no wonder that I was highly anticipating this sequel when I hit the theater with a bunch of my friends.
Even so, there was a question of whether or not they could recapture the magic of the first film – particulars after the lackluster reception of last years Annabelle. However James Wan is back in the directory seat this time round, and we know exactly what to expect. He brought the series back to formula – pulling what works from the first film and emphasizing it. We have hunted house shenanigans, a place haunted by a Demon or is it a ghost? Same underlying questions that helped make the conjuring so unique are back at work. Ed and Lorraine Warren are also back, investigating this hunting while dealing with a very personal threat to their own well-being. The film really works for me, James Wan understands better than anybody how to create tension and dread. It’s not just the creepy imagery and spooky tones that we saw in Annabelle – it’s the dark anticipation that keeps you squirming in your seats… James Wan is just a master of this. The fiendish creatures are wonderful as well, I had worried that perhaps we had seen too much in the trailers… It seems to be happening more and more, but truthfully the wicked nun’s presence and impact wasn’t lessened one bit by her
appearances in the trailer – if anything they kept the scariest moment to themselves. I actually found the conjuring 2 to be scarier than the first one – and that’s no mean feat. there were more than a few jump moments in the first, but I was constantly on edge in this one, even in a theatre with a lot of people talking and chatting away, the film still managed to haunt me done.
My only real complaint on these movies is the fictionalization. I could go on forever about how Lorraine Warren not only looks wrong, but isn’t even the same ethnicity (but I digress), however their version of the Amitiville and Perron haunting have so little in common with the documented events it does bother me (ask me about DePalma’s Untouchables movie sometime and watch me pull out my hair). Nevertheless, if you know going in that this is a mostly fictional tale simply using the names and of real places and people, it’s still an impressively scary flick.
Something I found curious about this film – a positive curiosity mind you, is the order of lack of profanity, sex, nudity – all of those things that we have been told over the years have to be in essential part of one of these kind of films. This movie has none of it. There is no gore to speak of, not a single F bomb, nobody gets naked or seductive– and yet the film is still sheer terror from beginning to end. I really, really love this. It still well earns it’s R rating from the horrors on the screen, and it does it with out such typically transgressive imagery – this is so impressive. I want more of these, and I want James Wan to stay at the helm.I know there is an Annabelle 2 slated for next year, and I think that series could be a nice shared universe component but I’m really more interested in seeing more conjuring.