The Conjuring 2
The Conjuring 2 (2016) movie review
A follow-up to the 2013 James Wan horror hit The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2 follow the Warrens as they head to London to help a family who have become the target of a supernatural entity in their house. The first Conjuring was a massive success, making almost $320 million worldwide on a $40 million budget, and despite doubling the budget, the sequel followed in its footsteps with around a $322 million worldwide gross. Of course the warm reception the film received from critics and audiences almost certainly helped this series continue to cement its legacy.
If you read my review of the first Conjuring, which I just watched for the first time, you’ll know that I didn’t care for it. Sure it’s an interesting spin on the haunted house story and it’s fairly well made, but it was bogged down with a painfully average story and a lack of scares for me to be invested. To which The Conjuring 2 said, “Hold my beer.” I don’t know how else to put it, but I really loved this movie! Like, ‘I’m going to go out of my way to own just the second one in this series’ liked it. So yeah, let’s talk about a film that most of you saw five years ago!
Right off the bat, the Warrens feel like they matter significantly more to the story this time around. Of course they matter to the last one, but it felt like it was missing a more personal connection. The sequel more than compensates, bringing them into the fold with impactful character arcs and much more relatable motivations. On top of that, the story itself was more compelling, with a bit more going on and some twists and turns to keep it feeling very original!
And while I’m hesitant to say that it’s scary, it is certainly scarier than the first one. (Meaning I jumped once.) But Wan also carries his very strong visual style over to this film, utilizing the same wonderful long takes that made the first film so captivating. Except here the first film limps to a predictable finale, the second keeps you hooked until the end! It also uses a few more elements in the horror toolbox than the first film, but I don’t want to give anything away for those who haven’t seen it. Dang there are some creative moments and fantastic design concepts though!
Okay so the biggest downside for me was the inclusion of Simon McBurney as a character who begins working with the Hodgson family before the Warrens arrive. He’s introduced as a fairly annoying character at first, before you get to know him. Once you get to know his backstory a bit, he becomes one of the most interesting characters in the movie! And then he doesn’t really matter. He fits in with the subplot in the film where the Warrens are trying to prove the position real in the face of considerable doubt. But as interesting as that is, I feel like that also could have been focused on alot more. Sure you need to keep the film from being too Hollywood-ified, right? Well no, because all of the ‘true story’ here wasn’t real anyway…
That said, even though it misses a few key opportunities here and there, it’s a really big step up for me. I loved the characters of the Warrens much more in this film, as their connection to the plot makes for greater emotional stakes. It’s also a very creepy watch, with an atmosphere build out of impressive cinematography that doesn’t wear out, despite the film being over twenty minutes longer than the first film. So if you haven’t seen the second Conjuring, I recommend it! Watch or skip the first, doesn’t make a huge difference. Just give this one a shot, because it’s the stuff modern horror is made of! 7/10.
So The Conjuring 2? Did you see it? What did you think? And what is your favorite film in this series? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more like it, let us know below what we should talk about next!
-review by Ryan Prince