WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:
THE STORY AS BEST WE KNOW IT: Based on a true* (more on that in a minute) story, The Conjuring 2 like its predecessor stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Lorraine and Ed Warren. Who are the Warrens? Just the married paranormal investigators who looked to see if there really were demonic forces at play that inspired Ronnie DeFeo to commit the crimes that would eventually become known worldwide as “The Amityville Horror.” The case takes such a toll on Lorraine that she tells Ed she really needs a break with no new cases.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, 11 year-old Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe), her sister Margaret (Lauren Esposito), two brothers Johnny (Benjamin Haigh) and afflicted-with-a-slight-stutter-Billy (Patrick McAuley) and their mother Peggy (Frances O’Connor) are dealing with their new life … After Peggy’s husband left to start a new family without them. Getting busted for doing something naughty at school she actually didn’t do, Janet finds herself in a bit of trouble one night and decides to pass the time playing with an ouija board. And then after a bit of weird noises, sounds and and incidents in the presence of the entire family, their neighbors and the police, Ed and Lorraine are eventually asked to come to the scene to investigate on behalf of the Catholic Church.
As one might imagine, things take a steady downturn once our favorite married non-caped crusaders arrive on the scene …
So, if we’re not here to debate the existence of ghosts, demons and/or the supernatural, the only thing left to ask is whether or not The Conjuring 2 is a “good” movie. And in terms of of a supernatural thriller that is based on a true story, it is good … Very good, indeed.
There are several things happening at once under director James Wan’s eye in The Conjuring 2:  You are witness to a love story between a husband and wife who believe in the same things and are bolster in that by their belief in each other;  You are watching grown adults attempt to struggle with whether or not they believe what they are experiencing is real and, if so, what that means to their lives on this planet and  You are watching a supernatural thriller which doesn’t go for cheap thrills and instead works to scare you on multiple levels. Wan has come a long way from his torture porn Saw days (I have it on good authority to never use the words “torture porn” to him, by the way) and The Conjuring 2 is the proof. The story is a told in proper storytelling fashion where characters are allowed to figure things out and make sense of it all in their own mind; instead of doing irrational “horror movie” things (see just about any horror movie made between 1979-1994), the characters reactions feel real, the pacing feels organic and the story unfolds to the point where everything – whether real or not – is enticing. You feel every bump in the night that the Hodgsons and Warrens experience because as well as Wan sets the scenarios up, the cast equals in execution. Farmiga and Wolfe are the true shining stars in the piece as each makes every horrifying moment jump out of the screen, Wolfe in particular as she does that thing that is key to making any movie with a child work: Showing acting talent to the point it doesn’t feel like she’s acting at all. Other than that, there’s not much else one really needs to know about The Conjuring 2 save for simple praise. The special effects work without every feeling corny or dumb, the cast avoids doing stereotypically stupid things (for the most part) and the scares build well to the point you will feel at least a little creeped out lying in your bed alone at night … Or at the very least make you want to go church.
That’s probably the highest compliment I can give any supernatural/horror film – and that’s based on true events.