by: S. Scott Stanikmas – Senior Staff Writer
I don’t know what it is about horror movies and summer but I’m a sucker for a good scary movie when it’s hot out. IndieRevolver EIC Jay and myself were talking about horror films not too long ago and how wide of a berth we give to them. It usually boils down to about the good (very rare, maybe less than 5%), the bad (not good but still has some watchability down the road, 20-30%) and the ugly (the utter dreck, which is everything else). While not a spectacular film, The Conjuring 2 builds upon its previous installment and makes for a good scary watch with some decent scares.
The film takes off right where the last one left off, with Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) investigating the well-known case in Amityville, NY (the basis for The Amityville Horror and its various sequels, spinoffs and remakes). While conducting a seance Lorraine enters a spirit world where she re-enacts Ronald DeFeo Jr.’s murderous spree and encounters an evil presence that tries to choke the life out of her.
After the Amityville incident the Warrens attempt to live normally but Lorraine still feels haunted by something that seems to want to do her harm, going so far as to follow her home and attack her where she lives.
Meanwhile in England another haunting is taking place. Janet Hodgson, the youngest daughter, begins to experience strange happenings. Teleporting through the house while sleeping and waking up in strange places, speaking to people who aren’t there and talking in a voice that isn’t hers. These incidences slowly escalate until the family has nowhere else to turn but the church for help. And in turn, to verify that they should get involved, the church turns to the Warrens to help determine if they should get involved.
Director James Wan (who reportedly turned down a HUGE sum of money to direct Fast and Furious 8 to take on this film) returns to the horror genre in a film that tries to be just as spine-tingling and nerve-wracking as it’s predecessor but just falls short. It’s not that Wan (who co-wrote the film with David Leslie Johnson and Chad & Carey Hayes) didn’t make a scary film – but if you saw the first one you kind of know what to expect. Still, it doesn’t make it any less scary when you hear the disembodied voices or suddenly see a ghost pop up behind someone when they weren’t there a second ago.
While I appreciate the filmmakers not ignoring the end of the last film and at least giving us a taste of the Amityville case (which at this point did not need to be covered in another film, so thank you James Wan) this film took it’s sweet time setting everything up. By the time we finally get the Warren’s across the pond we’re well over an hour into the film. While most movies don’t do enough to set up a plausible film this movie takes just a bit too long to get us to where we want to be.
That being said The Conjuring 2 still had enough scares – both genuine, built up terror as well as the now overused “cat-on-the-piano” jump-scares – to make this a worthwhile watch.