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The world’s most famous paranormal investigators return and head to England for a supernatural sequel that’s actually super - or is it? Read on as our movie critic shares his review.

 

“Hey – I thought I returned that Halloween costume back to the rental place last week. Oh wait – that ain’t no costume!” Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) comes face to … Mirror with an otherworldly presence in a scene from James Wan’s THE CONJURING 2. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures © 2016 Warner Bros. Pictures and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment. All rights reserved. 


WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

KEY CAST MEMBERS: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe, Frances O’Connor, Simon McBurney, Lauren Esposito, Benjamin Haigh, Simon Delaney, Patrick McAuley and Franka Potente

WRITER(S): Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, James Wan and David Leslie Johnson (screenplay); Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes and James Wan (story) 
DIRECTOR(S): James Wan

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 …

WHO WILL LIKE THIS MOVIE THE MOST? Fans of the first film; people who believe in ghosts, spirits and our ability to communicate – positively and negatively – with them; those who enjoy smart supernatural horror/thriller movies; movie fans who enjoy films that have a slow burn to a climax 

WHO WILL HATE THIS MOVIE THE MOST? Atheists and people who don’t believe in ghosts/spirits/demons; people who get annoyed with British accents; those who want the film to dive more into the authenticity angle of the events; anyone who scares easily but doesn’t like it when that happens
SO IS IT GOOD, GREAT, JUST ALL RIGHT OR DOWNRIGHT AWFUL? As a movie critic, I am not here to debate the existence of ghosts. Nor am I here to examine any issues of faith. Thus, if you want someone to dive into a detailed, thorough analysis of the facts vs. what may or may not be true in regards to what the Hodgson family did or did not experience. For that, a simple Google search will suffice, unless you’re extremely lazy and then you can go here or here or even here.  

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: [1] 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; [2] 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 [3] 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.

RATING OUT OF FOUR BUCKETS OF POPCORN:

 
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