Friday, January 13, 2017

Movie Review - The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe, Frances O'Connor, Simon McBurney, and Franka Potente
Directed by James Wan

Although Psycho is my favorite film, the horror genre was one that I never explored as a youth, but as I entered by third decade, I found myself exploring scary movies with much more aplomb.  Three years ago, I was quite impressed with The Conjuring and the film landed on my Top Twenty list of 2013.  Director James Wan created a 1970s vibe that gained its scares from tension-filled build-ups as opposed to cheap jump scares and the film itself was one of the best horror films of the decade thus far.  Unfortunately, The Conjuring 2 doesn't quite live up to its superior predecessor, relying on a too-similar story, setting, and atmosphere to really feel like anything other than a rehash.

The Conjuring 2 takes us another journey with the husband-and-wife paranormal investigation team of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) whose talents are called upon to help the Catholic Church investigate a possible demonic presence in Enfield, England, in 1977.  A young teen girl named Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe) has purportedly become possessed and her single mother Peggy (Frances O'Connor) has had to send her other children away from their home for fear of Janet and the demons in their house causing them harm.  With the family desperate for help, Ed and Lorraine start their investigation, but soon discover that the Hodgsons may in fact be making this all up for attention.

There is certainly a foreboding atmosphere present throughout The Conjuring 2 as James Wan definitely has a way with creating scares not through gore and violence, but rather through an ever-building uncomfortable tension.  He also gets great work out of his cast all of whom elevate the horror film to a higher level than most.  Unfortunately, the story here (also co-written by Wan) just feels like too much of the same thing.  Running nearly 145 minutes, there's not enough new story brought to the table and, admittedly, the scares, though effective, also feel a bit repetitive from the first film.  The Conjuring 2 is by no means a bad horror just suffers in the wake of its predecessor to which it hones a bit too close to truly be original.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-

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