The Conjuring is one of the best horror films of recent years, it’s brilliant cast and well crafted scares outdid the cliché plot on the surface. After an abysmal spinoff which ruined everything good about the original, a sequel was very risky in my books. Was it going to be the same as Annabelle? or the original? Bearing in mind Annabelle made a similar amount of money as the conjuring did, it could have gone either way. Well thankfully the conjuring 2 decided to lean in the way of its predecessor, and not Annabelle, the result? one of the best films of the year so far and one of the most well made horror films of the last 15 years.
I’ve spoken a lot about Modern horror (anything past the year 2000) in my reviews and how much I usually dislike it. But every so often you get a gem, a “It follows” or a “Saw” will pop up in the midst of crap like “Paranormal Activity 5” or more recently “The Darkness”. There are probably a handful of truly great Modern Horror films that can be compared to the levels of classics like say “The shining”. I admit it’s a hard level to reach but the majority of attempts don’t even come close to it. For me I can’t speak highly enough of “The conjuring 2” everything about this film is near flawless. James Wan has managed to create an intense thrill ride that not only doesn’t cop out in scares, but is brilliantly made.
The Conjuring 2, as I just said, is directed by James Wan and stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga again as Ed and Lorraine Warren. This time the film is tackling the infamous Enfield case, in which a young girl is possibly being possessed by a poltergeist. The film follows a very similar format to the original with it opening with a previous case and then switching back an forth between Ed and Lorraine, building up the horror in the Enfield house, only for the second half of the film to bring both parties together. My issue with the first film is primarily about clichés, 80% of the plot and scares could be predicted very easily which ruined some of the fun that it was bringing. However even when predictable the film managed to entertain me and surprise me by how well done each scare was. This film completly fixed that issue, both the plot and the majority of scares are completely devoid of clichés, with only 1 or 2 odd scares being predictable. Even the predictable ones were still fun though, they were mostly big scares so they’re satisfying enough for you to still enjoy them. The main joy for me though came from the fact that I thought I knew the scares. I thought I had a scare figured out but then as if from nowhere the scare would completely change. Because of all this the film is genuinely scary and unique. At no point are terrible sound cue jump scares used and James Wans signature use of practical effects is truly at its best here.
The cast is again fantastic, from the children’s genuine fear being evident too Ed and Lorraine’s insanely good chemistry in screen the cast is somehow better than its predecessor. I’m glad to say that the conjuring 2 had brought back my trend of amazing child actors and I’m hoping that in the future this continues. These kids can show terror, most adult actors struggle to show as realistic terror thpse kids some of which are around 11 years old. My only issue with the cast is the young boy with the stutter, although not in it very often when he is it can get slightly annoying and feels a bit forced. It doesn’t however at any point deter from the scares on screen. There is a man in this film (I’m avoiding spoilers as much as possible) called bill, saying as little as possible this was amazingly cast and he does his jo
b very well.
This film has some of the best directing and cinematography I’ve seen in not only a mainstream Horror film but indie horror as well. The use of certain uncut tracking shots is brilliant especially when introducing the family this film is about. The shots and use of Dutch angles to me seems perfect and is exactly how i would have done it had me been in James Wans shoes. I never felt like any type of shot got over used and I really liked the quick crane shots.The editing is fantastic, a perfect example of this would be the opening case (amytiville). The long tracking shot and the amazing cuts when the air shotgun is fired is highly intense. Every second of this scene is drowning in excellence, it’s easily my favourite scene in the film and it sets you up for the tension that follows. The only technical aspect is wasn’t a fan of was the CGI, it’s not a lot but every so often there was a CGI window pane, or something similar, and this slightly took me out of the moment. This was so minimal that it again rarely effected my experience. The script was amazing however I have one slight issue that I will elaborate on later. The directing is brilliant, the way this film comes together shows how good James Wan is, no aspect of the film feels like it’s let down by another.
As I mentioned the script has one slight issue, while for 95% of the script is sublime there are a couple of times where I feel like the “British slang” is very forced and cliche. The perfect example would be the first screen of the children in the school yard in which in a 2 minute scene we hear “wanker”, ” Bloody hell” and I’m pretty sure I hear the word “governor” at some point. It’s the worst scene in the film and thankfully this very rarely makes it past this short scene. I don’t know what Americans think we talk like, but it’s not this at all.
From start to finish this film is near perfect. I love the cast, directing style, scares, plot and cinematography which is rare for a film like this. If the first one was good this blows it completely out of the water. My favourite films this year are all films that have completly surprised me; Hardcore Henry, Everybody wants some (both of which will be reviewed soon) and now the conjuring 2 it’s been a great year for films so far I just hope we get more gems like this.
Written By Dawson Roberts
Release Date- 17th of June 2016
Directed by- James Wan
Produced by- Peter Safran, Rob Cowan, James Wan
Screenplay by- James Wan, Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes, David Leslie Johnson