Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Conjuring 2 - A Roller Coaster Ride of Scares

Review by Steve D. Stones

The Conjuring 2 may not be the great classic of the original film, but as sequels go - it is a well-made, well-directed effort in the series that puts the viewer on a wild roller coaster ride of scares and chills. Prepare yourself to be even more jolted out of your seat than the first film.  This film comes in at 133 minutes.

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson reprise their roles as paranormal researchers Lorraine and Ed Warren. Early in the film, Lorraine expresses to Ed her desire to not get involved with any more paranormal investigations, at least not for a little while. Ed makes her a promise that they will lay off the investigations for a while.

This of course changes when the Warrens are approached by a priest of the Catholic church to look into a home possession in Northern England. Ed promises Lorraine that they will go to England only to observe. Lorraine fears that Ed will be killed in their next investigation based on dreams she has had.

Peggy Hodgson, played by Frances O'Connor, is a single mother of four children whose home in Enfield, England is plagued with spirits and strange paranormal activity. Her youngest daughter, Janet, played by Madison Wolfe, has become possessed by Bill Wilkins, the former owner of the home - a seventy-two year old man who died of a brain hemorrhage while sitting in his lounge chair watching TV. The Hodgson family kept Wilkins' chair and other possessions after the home was sold following his death.

There's lots of smashing glass, slamming doors, loud pounding sounds and furniture flying across the room, which continually jolts the viewer out of their seat.  Like the first Conjuring film, many of the scare tactics employed are from vague outlinings of a figure standing off in the distance of a dark room while a main actor stands or sits in front of the ominous figure.

One particularly scary sequence shows a strange painting Ed Warren has created of an evil nun he has seen in his dreams. Lorraine enters Ed's study to look at the painting as the shadow of the nun walks up to the painting and aligns her shadow with the shape of the figure in the painting. Creepy stuff indeed.

In a scene reminiscent of The Exorcist (1973), Ed Warren tries to communicate with the spirit of Bill Wilkins through the body of little Janet Hodgson. Janet sits in the old, worn-out chair of Wilkins while he communicates through Janet. Ed later reviews two tape recordings of Wilkins and discovers that Wilkins himself is possessed by the evil nun in his painting.

Most horror movie fans are in agreement that sequels to box office hits are often stinkers and not worthy of their predecessors. The Conjuring 2, however, will not disappoint. The scares in this film are ten times what was seen in the first film. Director James Wan always intensifies the scare level when he creates a new film in any of his series, such as the Saw and Insidious films

Strap yourselves in and hold on tight for one wild ride in The Conjuring 2. Happy viewing!

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