Back in 2013, The Conjuring was like a breath of fresh air. Despite being similar on paper to so many other ghost films of its kind, there was something about it which elevated it way beyond those. Much of this was attributed to director James Wan, who has a real knack for ramping up the tension and orchestrating quality scares. I’ve never posted a review for that movie but it’s a very solid 4 stars from me and still holds up well, even with repeat viewings.
Equally terrifying is this sequel, the boringly titled ‘The Conjuring 2’. Following on 5 years from the events of the first film and once again drawing from the ‘true’ case files of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. The start of the movie sees them dealing with the famous Amityville house, before moving on to an Enfield council house in dark, grey England in 1977 for the main focus of the movie. The Enfield Haunting is a well documented case, widely believed to have been a hoax. Although I’d heard of it before, I didn’t know a great deal about it until last year when I watched ‘The Enfield Haunting’ – a 3 part series on Sky TV featuring Timothy Spall and based on a book by one of the other investigators in the case, Guy Lyon Playfair. Being a TV series, the budget was considerably less than that of something like The Conjuring 2, but it was still very well done, and scary at times too. Of course, being a hoax or not, that doesn’t stop anyone from making a great movie out of it!
The Hodgson family are the residents of this Enfield house. Single mother Peggy Hodgson lives with her four children after being left by her husband. Strange noises and events begin to affect them, focusing mainly on the youngest daughter at first but eventually growing in intensity and having a negative effect on all family members. Kind of like the first movie really…
As mentioned earlier, all credit to James Wan for layering up the dread and tension to the point where you’re scouring every corner of the screen in anticipation of something that’s going to make you jump out of your skin, even when there’s absolutely nothing there to be scared of. There’s a lot more visibility to the ghosts and demons in this second movie at times, providing some pretty creepy moments, but there are still plenty of simple, traditional well executed scares too.
I’m a big fan of Vera Farmiga and once again she is fantastic in this. Patrick Wilson is also very good, and together they make a great team. Part of me would love to see more movies exploring the Warrens case files with these two starring but part of me also wonders if this kind of quality can be maintained for more sequels.