As a major horror fan, it was a real pleasure to have seen James Wan’s brilliant 2013 film The Conjuring, which took an often mistreated genre and gave it new life with complex three-dimensional characters, clever plot devices and the scariest scenes I’d seen in years. It gives me even greater joy now to see Wan returning to the genre where he made his name with The Conjuring 2.
Set in 1977, the film tells the story of the famous Enfield Haunting in England, which saw a mother and her four children under attack by a sinister entity.
Sinister is one word to describe the terrifying creatures that appear in this film, but disturbing and haunting are just as appropriate. The Conjuring 2 offers plenty for audiences who seek to be scared, building tension and anticipation before dropping a frightening reveal. The stand out scene for me (without being too spoilery), takes place in the Warren’s study, and sees Lorraine coming face to face with an entity that would make the bravest of cinema-goers shiver. This speaks volumes of the talent of Wan and his team, who have mastered the art of the jump scare without making it come across as overused.
The scares will hit you hard in this one, and are particularly impressive when they involve the brilliant Madison Wolfe’s character Janet, who unfortunately finds herself the main victim of the demonic presence. Wolfe may be a newcomer but god can this girl act. With the film’s believability relying on her ability to convey true fear, Wolfe never falters, and is an astonishingly strong and mature match for her older co-stars.
Of course, nothing beats the chemistry between Vera Farmiga’s Lorraine and Patrick Wilson’s Ed, who are the real anchors of the film. The thing I loved most about The Conjuring was how you could take away the tricks and haunting yet still have two formidable and very interesting characters with a history and present worth exploring. The same goes for the sequel, with the stakes even higher this time for the paranormal investigators. Making a good horror film isn’t just about the scares, and it’s clear that Wan understands just how crucial our two heroes and their shared experiences are to the story.
If you’re not too fussed about getting a solid eight hours sleep, then go see The Conjuring 2. With a wicked story, killer cast and bloody good climax, it’s everything a modern horror should be.
Image source: Roadshow Films.