When there’s something that goes bump in the night or the unexplained is happening, the people you call are Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are back as the real-life 1970’s Ghostbusters in The Conjuring 2, in theaters now. James Wan is back after directing Furious 7 and returns to the franchise where he has upped the creepiness and intensified the scares. Rarely do sequels exceed expectations, and this surpasses them.Wan creates a film that’s deliciously chock full of horror and audiences are going to eat it up.
The film revisits the infamous Amityville haunting in 1976. During a séance, Loraine encounters a demonic figure that takes her as close to hell as she’s ever been. This whole experience spooks Lorraine and causes her to want to step away from paranormal investigations. Just as Ed seems to be finally on behind her idea of retiring, they are called to London to investigate why an 11-year old named Janet Hodgson now has green eyes and sounds like a 72-year old dead person.
Wan stealthily incorporates harmless clips of “This Old Man” in the background as the Hodgson clan are driven to the brink of insanity by violently shaking beds, toy fire trucks rolling down the hallway, and a La-Z-Boy that’s possessed by the devil.
Wan has turned a seemingly harmless object into an item that’s oozing with terror before. Like he did with the doll Annabelle in the first Conjuring. In the sequel, he uses what appears to be a harmless zoetrope that doubles as summoning mechanism for a demon known as Crooked Man. This lengthy/gangly looking creature with no temperament is enough to give the biggest of skeptic’s goosebumps.
Wilson and Farmiga strike the right balance between realism and the supernatural while reprising their roles as Ed and Lorraine. Both could have easily gone over the top with their performances. Remember, the Warrens at this point were ready to walk away from the paranormal business but were drawn back in by the case in London. They both had seen more hellish creatures in the last five years than most will do in his or her lifetime and are now exasperated that they are back where they started in 1976.
Some hardcore horror fans might contend that this film relies too much on conventional scares. Why would Wan go for anything other than traditional scares? There is a certain expectation that has been set from the previous Conjuring and subsequent Annabelle films that the scares are realistic and not “over the top.” Had Wan decided to go way over the top with the gore or other horror elements then it would have detracted ultimately from the film.
Sometimes less is more, and that less can still scare the hell out of you.