The Conjuring 2 Movie Review
The Conjuring 2 isn't as good as the original, but it's still a frightfully freaky sequel. Director James Wan returns to direct the supernatural spooker and the results are what you’d expect: The Conjuring 2 is full of legitimate scares and other things that go bump in the night.
Too bad it’s well over two hours long.
Based on the well-documented but controversial Enfield Poltergeist case in London, The Conjuring 2 once again follows Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) as they investigate a family that is experiencing some disturbing activity--most notably, a girl who sometimes speaks as if she’s possessed by a 72-year-old man who died years earlier.
Wan starts things off with a bang not in London but in Amityville, and within a minute spooky shit is happening (note: Wan’s brief portrayal of the Amityville Horror is better than any full-length adaptation). As Wan has proven with the original Conjuring and Insidious, he’s a master of building suspense and evoking terror from sound effects and simple things like toys rolling down a hallway--and he pulls no punches here. Wan is arguably the best horror director working today, at least when it comes to evoking legitimate fright.
The movie follows the typical haunted house/possessed child formula, though the solid screenplay by Wan, Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes and David Leslie Johnson adds some intricacies. The above-average actors also help, as Farmiga, Wilson and young Madison Wolfe all deliver fine performances, at least for a horror movie.
One of the movie’s weaknesses come in the final act, where for whatever reason Wan inserts a stop-motion creature called the Crooked Man that not only comes out of left field, but is so underutilized it’s hard to view him/it as a serious threat. But really, the Crooked Man just speaks to a broader issue with The Conjuring 2: it is easily 20 minutes or so too long. The Crooked Man could have been cut completely with no negative effect on the final product, and Wan and company go through a few to many cycles of various paranormal activity that, while never dull in the moment, becomes repetitive and unnecessary over time.
The Conjuring 2 is a truly scary movie, but it would have been much better had certain subplots and sequences been trimmed or cut. A horror movie about a haunted house doesn’t need to be over two hours long.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.