The Conjuring 2 (2016)

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Plot summary:
Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by a malicious spirit.

Scary movies are a dime a dozen, and almost consistently un-scary. I may have seen and reviewed more movies than to count, but I think I know what scary is. A movie that’s scary is a movie that affects the viewer in more ways than just a few jump scares. The way you rate a film on the “scare scale” is how little you sleep that night. The scariest movie I’ve ever seen is ‘Paranormal Activity‘ because it seemingly knew how the human mind operated and summed up imagery associated with fright. I didn’t sleep the night I saw ‘Paranormal Activity’. So the question remaining is…did I sleep with ‘The Conjuring 2′. Yes I did, but I did have some troubles sleeping, to be fair.

STORY: 7

A So-So plot in conjuction with true stories.

We all know these Conjuring films are loosely based on true stories. They are centered on paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren – but more so than they ever should have been. The movies typically have a belief that people care about their characters, and we really don’t…we care  more about the story of the haunting – which is why the movie was better when it didn’t focus so much on the Warrens. The atmosphere was very creepy both because the style of film-making is masterful and submersive, but also because the story itself is as bland as reality. I don’t like true stories, many know that about me, but if they can use that to their advantage (as horror films often do), I have no problem with it – as it makes an otherwise over-produced horror flick more believable. If I can connect with a horror movie on that kind of level – you have just entered the possibility of scare-dom.

VISUALS: 10

‘The Conjuring 2’ lures you in not only with scares, but also with its awesome use of visuals.

What’s the number one main problem with visuals in horror flicks this day in age? Jump scares – they are overdone and most the time don’t leave a lasting affect because they don’t help further the story. What ‘The Conjuring 2′ did was create natural jump scares, and nothing that’s really in your face or even predictable. The jump scares produced in this were very similar to what you might experience in either a nightmare or in a heightened sense of fear. Beyond the scares, the actual scenery and shot-by-shot camera work was always surprising and impressive – unlike any big-budget scary movie these days.

CHARACTER: 7

It’s a love-or-hate game with the characters.

“The Nun was absolutely terrifying – one of the best horror characters I’ve ever seen”

Horror films need to have characters that you love. They need to, or else the audience would never care about them getting killed off, or at the very least, when they face life-threatening scenarios…and if they can’t care, they also can’t get scared. It’s one of the very few necessary things a horror flick needs. Does ‘The Conjuring 2′ have it…well in a way. I’ve said it before, I don’t care about the Warrens – and that has most to do with the fact that I hate Patrick Wilson with a passion. He can’t act. Vera Farmiga can, but I still don’t really care all that much about her character, so what I’d like to do instead is focus on everyone else.

The haunted family of the Hodgson’s are all very likable and believable characters. You care about what’s going on so much that you forget that a little girl being possessed has been seen elsewhere. It feels more natural than it really actually is, and a big part of that is character. Also with the bad guys. Big improvement on the first. Annabelle was a joke in the first movie, I never even understood why they introduced her, let alone give her a spinoff flick. The Crooked Man was weird, I’ll give you that, but spectacularly creepy. The Nun was absolutely terrifying – one of the best horror characters I’ve ever seen, period. Even Bill Wilkins was someone you wanted to shield your eyes from because you didn’t know what he’d do next. This film thrives on the things that go bump in the night – and for something I usually complain about (showing us too much), I loved it.

ENJOYMENT: 8

Easily one of the best-produced horror films I’ve ever seen.

I’m actually one of the biggest fans for found-footage films – but only strictly talking about the original stuff, not the neverending list of copy-paste movies that came out after. I love them because they are believable and have a lot more respect to the art of filmmaking than they are given credit for. They worked very hard to do what they did – and I believe ‘The Conjuring 2′ is one of the only production-level Hollywood horror films I’ve ever seen that payed respect to the things that get us invested in scary movies to begin with. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first movie, I thought it was just okay. The second movie was quite brilliant both in terms of scariness and in the art of film. It’s not a film to miss.

Check it out!

David Gilleand
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