Movie Review: THE CONJURING 2 (2016)
By Michael Arruda
I’ve got to say this right here. I loved INSIDIOUS (2010) and THE CONJURING (2013), both by director James Wan, and I really wanted to like THE CONJURING 2, especially since Wan was back directing again, but I gotta tell you, I did not like this one at all.
The film starts off with lame prologue showing husband and wife paranormal investigators Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) dealing with the infamous Amityville haunting. Now, in real life, Ed and Lorraine Warren became famous for investigating the Amityville situation, but this prologue serves no purpose in the movie other than to tie in with the first film which ended with their being summoned to Amityville.
The action switches to London in 1977, where another family is experiencing another haunting. Eventually, the Warrens are called in to investigate, upon the request of the Catholic Church no less, to find out if the hautning is credible.
Now I could go into more plot details, but I don’t see the need. And that’s one of the biggest problems I had with THE CONJURING 2: the story bored me to tears. Family is terrorized by a demon, or in this case a combination of ghosts and demons (and this combintation has been done before as well), there are lots of strange noises at night, loud knocks on doors, children being possessed, etc. The Warrens arrive, they investigate, blah blah blah.
Now I’ll be the first to tell you that I was very surprised I didn’t like this movie. As I said at the outset, I loved INSIDIOUS and THE CONJURING, and I fully expected to like this sequel. But I did not.
In terms of scares, there are a lot of them in THE CONJURING 2, and as you would expect in a James Wan movie, most of them are of the jump scare variety. I don’t have a problem with this. I like jump scares. The problem I had with the jump scares in this movie was that they simply were not scary. And they weren’t scary for me because I was bored with the story and so I knew, okay here’s the part where something creepy will happen with the child’s toy. Okay, and here’s the part where the demon will show up in the dark corner. Now for the young girl to start saying weird things in a deep male voice. I mean, almost everything that happened in this movie I felt I had seen already. Many, many times.
James Wan does a fine job constructing all these scenes, but he did the same in INSIDIOUS and THE CONJURING and there just wasn’t much that was fresh here.
I liked the demon and the ghosts, but some looked better than others, which were a bit thick with CGI effects.
I like the two main actors a lot, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. I’m a huge fan of Farmiga, but I didn’t think either actor was able to rise above the material here.
I thought the script by Carey and Chad Hayes, David Leslie Johnson, and James Wan was particularly bad. I thought the dialogue at times was laughable, especially during some of the conversations between Wilson and Farmiga. And the story is about as fresh as a loaf of stale bread. Demon manipulates spirits to haunt a family. Okay, I get it. Let’s do something else already.
And there are spirits and demons everywhere. There’s so much supernatural activity going on inside this house it’s like a GHOSTBUSTERS convention. It reaches the point of ridiculousness. It also works against the plot, which presents us with a more skeptical Ed and Lorraine Warren. Are you kidding me? We’re supposed to believe that they have doubts? After seeing everything that happens in this movie? The only way they could have doubts after seeing this much spectral activity in one place would be if they were blind, and they’re not blind.
I did enjoy Madison Wolfe who played Janet Hodgson, the young girl who becomes the main victim of the film’s demon. She was believable. I also enjoyed Frances O’Connor’s performance as the single mother Peggy Hodgson raising her family. She had a gritty feisty strength about her that was just right for the role.
But as a whole, I found THE CONJURING 2 to be a major letdown, and I’m someone who really enjoys this type of movie. I mean, I like stories about demons and hauntings, but this story added nothing new. If you’ve seen THE CONJURING and INSIDIOUS, you’ve seen everything that happens in this one.