Tonight, I became everything I hate – a person that loudly reacts in the movie theater. Yes, for the first time in my life I screamed during a horror movie, not once but three times. Usually I roll my eyes and sometimes even glare at people who make scenes during a screening, but due to the incredible scariness of THE CONJURING 2, I am a changed woman. Has this broken me? Will I now be someone who screams out loud at the screen telling characters not to be so stupid? Probably not. But I know I am capable of it, and that’s the worst part.
Based off of the true story of the “Enfield Poltergeist“, THE CONJURING 2 focuses on the Hodgson family, who are being haunted by a malevolent spirit in their Enfield, England home. As the scares quickly turn from moving objects to demonic possession, single mother Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor) is left with no other options than to contact her local parish for help.
Meanwhile, fresh off their most infamous case, the Amityville Murder House, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are ready to take a break. This is especially important for the clairvoyant Lorraine, who has seen a vision of Ed’s death and fears another case will make it a reality. But when the church asks for their help in determining whether the Hodgson’s story is a hoax, the Warrens realize they can’t say no when people need their help. So they pack their bags and journey across the pond to uncover the truth behind the haunting. But even with promises that the Warrens are only there to assess the situation, not to exorcise any demons, we know it’s a lot easier said than done.
As you can probably surmise, THE CONJURING 2, directed by mastermind James Wan, is one of the scariest movies I have seen in a movie theater. Even when I got home I was convinced an old man ghost might be sitting in my empty chair. And you better believe I kept an eye on my TV remote. From the first shot of the film, Wan puts you right in the middle of the action, constantly moving the camera around in his signature, whimsical style that makes you feel like you are being haunted along with the main characters.
But within all of the scares and :ahem: screaming, what I liked most about the movie is that at its center, it is a love story between a husband and wife and a mother and her children. It is this special attention to the human element of horror films, that makes Wan’s films stand out. All of the performances in the movie were fantastic, especially Madison Wolfe’s Janet, who conquered the difficult task of demonic possession with a performance that would make Linda Blair proud. And of course I have to give props to two of my favorite actors, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. Both actors have such incredible chemistry so I am glad Wan focused more on their relationship in this film, especially the effect this taxing job can have on them emotionally. Not to mention, Wilson also gives a fantastic performance of Elvis’ “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You”. Be still my heart.
Anyone can make a horror movie about demonic possession; we’ve seen it hundreds of times already. But it is the chemistry between the characters that makes the film seem incredibly real, and even more scary. Wan feels so comfortable with the human relationships in the story, he refreshingly ends the film focusing on the characters instead of a cheesy jump scare, a cliche that typically haunts lesser films like THE FOREST.
THE CONJURING 2 certainly passes the “turn every light on in my apartment when I get home” test and apparently the “make a scene at the movie theater” test. But what I enjoyed most about it was the fact that Wan made the story seem instantly real and believable through top-notch character development. This is definitely a movie you have to see in theaters, just make sure you’re prepared to lose a little bit of sleep and, if you’re anything like me, your dignity.
My Review: A-/B+