Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Conjuring 2 Review

The Conjuring 2 Review
When a great movie comes along that is ripe to become a franchise, its easy to get hasty about a sequel. Usually when a movie plays the sequel game, it usually ends up treading water or sucking so bad that you wish sequels had never been created. This especially happens in the horror genre, there are very limited horror franchises, and those that do exist usually run out of steam fast despite the number of movies they possess. Horror is a tough game to play, and it takes a special team to keep an ongoing story relevant.

"The Conjuring" franchise could be the answer to this, and it could very easily break the mold as far as horror franchises go. "The Conjuring 2" is a marvelous horror sequel, something we don't see too often in the genre. It tells a story full of chills and creeps, its brought to life by a fantastic duo, its different enough that it isn't the same thing as the first film, and for a horror film it is scary. If the franchise keeps pushing movies out that look as good as this, "The Conjuring" could be a worthwhile horror franchise. 

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as Ed and Lorriane Warren, paranormal investigators who are looking into the Amittyville case at the beginning of the movie. Eventually, the church asks them to go to London and look into the child of Peggy Hodgson (Frances O'Connor), an overwhelmed single mother who has been noticing strange activity from her daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe). The Warrens must find out for the church if Janet is possessed by something evil or if it is a hoax. I think we know where this is going.

What makes "The Conjuring 2" work so well is that it is very scary. Its full of tension, boo-scares, and slow-burns that will plague your nerves for the entire running time. The make-up effects are very impressive and the spooky atmosphere that builds over the course of the film is almost unbearable. The work done by director James Wan is beyond impressive and he does a good job of making this film stand out as not just another sequel. Now, I will say this, I am not sure its as scary as the first film. But there is enough horrific good times in this movie that it certainly matches up well against its predecessor. 

But the film's secret weapon is the work done by Wilson and Farmiga. They are a tough team that makes their work believable. Something that could have been cheesy but ends up being the glue to the film is how their characters reflect the human side of this. I don't know how many of you believe in paranormal activity or not, but its clear the Warrens believed in what they were doing, and they believed that they put their lives on the line to help others. That is beautifully translated to the screen thanks to the work done by Wilson and Farmiga. We see their relationship as something real, not as something being acted out. They make us feel the stakes of the storyline and they make these characters identifiable. It is elegant acting for a horror movie, and I am glad they took the time to make it matter.

Oh, and the voice work by Robin Atkin Downes is terrifying.

If you were a fan of the first film, definitely give this second movie a shot. We maybe on the eve of the next great horror franchise.

FINAL GRADE: A

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