Given that The Conjuring (2013) was one of the ‘scariest’ horrors I had seen in a very long time, I was a big bouncy ball of excitement this weekend as the sequel, The Conjuring 2 (C2) came to a Cineworld near me. I was an even bigger, bouncier ball when I watched the trailer at home, and absolutely pantsed myself when the old man appeared out of nowhere. I was willing to endure a cinema screen packed full of raucous teenagers for this movie. It was jumpy,exciting and by all accounts a successful horror sequel, however, I don’t think it lives up to its predecessor. I definitely don’t think it was worth enduring the twatty teenagers, either. It definitely wasn’t worth £8.50 – I am slightly bitter about how bad the cinematic experience has become. Can you tell?
I digress. James Wan has definitely struck horror oil, which I guess is blood? Combining the creepy true cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren with Wan’s dark corner directing is almost as good as ‘the adding of chocolate to milk’.
Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) are helping families in spiritual crisis, but after a demonic encounter at Amityville – Lorraine doesn’t want to take on any new cases. Unfortunately for her, the Hodgson family are in desperate need of the duos help. Based on the ‘true events‘ of a paranormal investigation in Enfield, 1977, the Warren’s are reluctantly called to the aid of Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe). Eleven year old Janet and her family are being haunted by the spirit of an elderly man, Bill, who still believes it is his house.
The suspense is ripe from the start and I found myself constantly checking the background for ghoulish figures, it was torture when the camera swiftly panned to reveal something looming behind them. There is no end of scares in this sequel and the villain parading itself around as Satan’s nun is definitely not something I want to think about at night. I found that these thrills and chills, while effective, were on the whole very predictable. Instead of trying out some new tricks it does feel like Wan tried to mimic too many elements from The Conjuring and then pulled in some scenes from Insidious (the dream sequences have took influence from ‘the further’).
Instead of Annabelle, we have The Crooked Man to appease our ‘boogeyman’ needs but The Crooked Man is a CGI character and therefore not as effective as our beloved demonic Annabelle. Instead of Bathsheba we have Demon Nun and the poltergeist Bill Wilkins, both are effective and it goes without saying that Demon Nun is aesthetically wonderful for any horror fan. However, there was something for me that made Bathsheba a more believable and frightening entity. All she really did was hide in wardrobes, made it clap and hung about – but sometimes they don’t need to do much to be effective. Look at the old lady in Insidious, she was a delightfully monstrous visual with very little screen-time…
C2 is unforgivably long, which meant that the scares became a bit too much and I sensed everyone in the cinema just wanted it to end. By the time that ending arrived, it had lost all of it’s hold on the audience and there was a noticeable lull in the constant stream of giggles, chatter and screaming (bloody.hate.teenagers.at.the.cinema).
Will I watch The Conjuring 2 again? Hell yes, I would. It was a good sequel, as far as contemporary horror sequels go. Despite my reservations, James Wan continues to breathe new life into the haunted house/possession genre. Let us hope that he continues to do so without pulling too many elements from previous successes to bulk his current projects out. The Conjuring 2 is worth a watch but, unfortunately, is not worth the hype.