The Conjuring franchise has fast become one of the best horror franchises of this era, largely thanks to its good old-fashioned way of ramping up tension rather than resorting to the over-used found footage, torture porn, and jump scares that plague the genre at the moment.
This instalment sees Ed and Lorraine Warren investigating the infamous Enfield haunting, with a malevolent spirit haunting a family in the London borough.
As with the first instalment Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson shine as Ed and Lorraine. In particular Farmiga steals the show this time around though as one of the central plots sees her faith coming into question as she has visions of a ghostly nun giving her premonitions of her husband’s death. With so much of the plot dominated by this aspect and Janet’s possession, it leaves surprisingly little room for any other characters to be given much development given that it is over two hours long.
It was very interesting to read that the idea for the nun was actually an afterthought, but it shows James Wan as the auteur of horror that he is as it only heightens the religious aspect of the storyline rather than just sticking with a traditional demon. Thanks to him audiences everywhere will surely not be able to look at nuns the same way again!
While The Conjuring 2 doesn’t have any sequences that quite match the hide and seek sequence of the first film for sheer terror, this one has enough effective scares and an even eerier house than first time around so that it sustains the tension for the whole film. It is often the quieter moments with creepy toys and the like that make more impact here than those where you actually see the paranormal beings.
Therefore, praise should really be given to the production design team who have ensured that the colour palette is as grim as possible and has some creepy old-fashioned toys that are in-keeping with the 1970s period in which it is set.
Scenes, such as the one where Ed sings an Elvis song to the children, bring moments of light relief which make the impending scare all the worse.
While it can occasionally resort to genre cliches and some of the English accents are a bit tenuous, you know it’s a good film when those are the only complaints.
James Wan really has mastered the art of the horror film and as long as he is involved in this franchise it will never be a chore to see further instalments of The Conjuring.
4 out of 5