The horror genre, a movie category that tries to be good, but often ends up a joke during most movies. Occasionally though, we get a film that provides a good thrilling scare and is actually worth the admission price. For me, The Conjuring was one of those movies able to provide the chills I was looking for with a story to match. When I heard a sequel was coming, I feared that its good name would be diluted by the Hollywood haste to make money (remember Annabelle?). Hi Robbie K here, and today I review the Conjuring 2 and share my thoughts on the latest film. Let’s get started.
- Integrated scares
- Acting/Recurring Cast
Seldom do we get a horror movie with an actual story, instead focusing on how to make people jump. This is not the case with this film my friends. Director James Wan and his team have managed to craft a tale that is both entertaining and interesting to watch. Conjuring 2’s story takes place a few years after the first with the Warren’s continuing their investigations of the paranormal. Meanwhile, across the ocean, the Hodgson family begins to experience their own paranormal activity that will eventually warrant inspection by our detectives. Sounds simple I know, and in truth it is, but Wan’s delivery is fantastic.
He manages to build suspense in his tale, using a gradual series of scares to build the tension and slowly reveal the truth in the haunting. And to throw in the few twists they did, only added more depth to the story. But Wan goes one step further and decides to bring some character development into mix, helping to add depth to all involved to help us connect with the film. The Warren’s story was great to expand on, discussing the origins of our detectives, while also dropping in a little bit of love to sweeten the deal. And if that weren’t enough, he even manages to keep all of the scares pertinent to the story, integrating them into the plot rather than dropping a random scare moment that Hollywood is famous for. By having the scares have a purpose, they removed the corny aspects and added an edge that made the only that much better.
Of course, having a great cast to act out this story is the final piece of the puzzle. The repeat performance by Wilson and Farmiga was just as strong, the chemistry between them solid that I believed they were a couple. Newcomers to the series Madison Wolfe and Frances O’Connor played their roles as a terrified family to the letter, while also having another side to them that made you feel sorry for them. Finally Simon McBurney as Maurice Gross added some finesse to the cast, with a little comedic relief when the going got tough. But while fantastic alone, the chemistry between everyone was on point and only made things that much better.
- Still another horror movie
- Dropped some plot points/unexplained
- Predictable scare tactics
It was difficult to find weaknesses in this movie for me, but there are a few things that took away from the movie for me. First is that this is still another horror movie that fits in well with other films of the same genre. We’ve had some unique horror films in the past, but this one is just a good old fashioned haunted house story. Again this is a picky weakness, but the originality could have used a bit more tweaking in my opinion.
A bigger weakness is some of the plot points and presentation in the film. Wait a minute, I just said the plot was good didn’t I? Yes it is, but it’s not perfect and the Conjuring 2 has a few moments that I was still wanting closure on. I have to be sparing to not spoil anything, but one major detail lacking is why one particular thing has a vendetta against the family. A second limiting plot point is how two of the characters sort of drop out of the story without so much as a blink when they had played a key role in the film. But even with these limitations, the story itself was mostly complete and had a good closure, again I’m grasping at straws here. In addition there were some melodramatic moments that were a bit drawn out and somewhat cheesy to me. Oh well can’t be perfect right.
Finally the scare tactics are still predictable as ever and didn’t really get me with the exception of one time. Camera angles giving away something, music eerily going silent and the occasional getting out of bed to walk in a dark hallway give away the horror from a mile away. But while I’m used to it, other members of the audience were still howling in fear, so again this may be a moot point.
Overall, The Conjuring 2 is a sequel quite worthy of being called just as good as the original. Wan and his group has shown that a horror movie can have a story and still be scary despite the beliefs of Hollywood. The engaging characters, the well timed suspense, and the integrated scares are surely the best selling points. With few weakness to point out, this reviewer can’t help but recommend this one for a theater visit for you horror fans out there.
My scores for this movie are:
Movie Overall: 8.0-8.5