Review: Following the event in The Conjuring, The Warrens – Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) – devote their life more onto investigating paranormal activity around the U.S., including the notorious 1976 Amityville Horror. However, that title might not come into fruition in making the title of the second Conjuring; as director James Wan is “only” interested in making it an opening sequence before the credit of The Conjuring 2 rolls.
Reenactment of that classic occurrence depicted in a brand new vision as Lorraine Warren appears as the medium isn’t merely a gimmick. The case which finally traumatizes the Warrens’ reputation and soul becomes a key into a series of events in this sequel.
Meanwhile, a dysfunctional family in Enfield, England, falls into their nadir as they encounter malicious poltergeist activity that keeps terrorizing them and targeting the youngest daughter in the family, Janet (Madison Wolfe). The case, which is dubbed as ‘England’s Amityville,’ finally draws Roman Catholic Church into summoning the couple as their unofficial representation. A task which appears to be simple initially turns into a perplexed one as many controversies foreshadow the paranormal event; meanwhile, a fear has consumed our protagonist.
Posing a sequel to a groundbreaking entry to a genre doesn’t deteriorate Conjuring 2’s presence; the film shows much confidence although it borrows many elements of the predecessor. While other Conjuring spin-offs and rip-offs are prone to ‘riding’ the film’s fame, this sequel has an exclusive formula which no other horror can copy. That secret formula consists of James Wan’s mastery of the genre that makes a big name of him and… undoubtedly, The Warrens, as the main subject.
Similar to The Warrens, The Conjuring 2 has the gifts of brain, heart, and most importantly,the sixth sense.
The brain is James Wan’s prime directing in cultivating all resources he owns. While the materials are not a whole new one, but a touch of Wan is able to recycle even the blandest cliché into tense gustos. In addition, he’s able to mix perfect doses of jump scares with terrific-but-symbolic apparitions effectively.
However, Wan’s truest strength is his expertise in manipulating moments – unhurriedly and gradually exploiting a scene into adding as much intensity as possible (as shown in Ed’s study and Billy’s tent). Mise-en-scene is one key point he makes as supported by Don Burgess’ dynamic cinematography which voyages at free will, making every corner of the room in The Conjuring 2 scary and hazardous.
Technically, there’s nothing deteriorating from the predecessor; however, this sequel has an x-factor: the script – the heart of the film. It separates and dissociates it from being a carbon-copy of the predecessor is the sense of sympathy drawn in the script; in this case, to the Hodgson, the dwellers of the haunted house.
With a single mother, Peggy (Frances O’Connor) as the breadwinner, the family is completely fragile – unsustainable with or without the paranormal terror. The poltergeist only makes things worse for them as it brings media coverage, controversy triggered by the non-beliebers, even alienation. Never had the live of ‘the living’ is more important than the existence of the supernatural being in a horror film.
Every horror films could simply adopt the brain and the heart of it, but, remember, not evertyone is gifted with the sixth sense. In The Conjuring 2, the sixth sense is The Warren themselves. Formidable bond between Ed and Lorraine has transcended beyond their physical form and it often comes as a deus ex machina. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga have proven their worth as one of the most important horror couple in cinema history, who could always emanate sense of security and warmth among piles of terrors. In short, they have both associated the Warrens to The Conjuring 2 vice versa.
In some weaker parts, The Conjuring 2 feels a bit like a retread of the predecessor. In some stronger parts, this sequel appears to be more sentimental without neglecting its horror nature. Like the Warrens, The Conjuring 2 is gifted with brain, heart, and sixth sense; and they are able to utilize it effectively, making it one of the most prominent horror franchise nowadays.
The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist (2016)
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