The Conjuring 2 Movie Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"
Director: James Wan Writer(s): Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, James Wan, David Johnson
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Madison Wolfe, Frances O'Connor, Lauren Esposito
Rating: R Running Time: 2 hrs 14 mins
Genre: Horror/Mystery/Thriller Country/Language: USA/Canada/English
Year: 2016 Where It Can Be Seen: In Theaters Now
James Wan has a respectable knack for breathing new life into horror once again. And I guess the very first time I took notice of his gift was in 2004's white knuckle-inducing horror/thriller, Saw. Being that it was a feature length version of his short of the same name, it allowed him to spread his wings and become the filmmaker everyone knew he would turn out to be for the next 12 years of his career. Saw was a game changer! It completely flipped the script and everyone on their heads! James, along with his friend and writer of the original short and feature length, not to mention greatest collaborator on his upcoming films after that, Leigh Whannell, both were the ones who came out and decided to put the fear, suspense, and mystery back in horror cinema. I mean don't get me wrong, Wes Craven most definitely resuscitated horror when it had pretty much flat-lined! But then here comes James Wan and Leigh Whannell with a completely refreshing take on what horror could be! And that was exciting. That first Saw film, despite its predecessors to come later on, didn't need to rely way too heavily on blood and gore. It used the scares to keep you going, and I feel that's what TRUE HORROR is. And please, the ending of Saw? I know there are still people out there who haven't seen this modern horror masterpiece, but all I will say is, when you first watch the ending and get side blinded by it, there's no greater feeling.
Let's fast forward 12 years later - James Wan has released his newest installment in horror cinema: The Conjuring 2! Alright, so check this out - Ed & Lorraine Warren, in real life, were a married couple who were also Paranormal Investigators. What they did was get called upon by the church to investigate supernatural/paranormal disturbances that were happening to people. Each using their own specific gifts would be able to come in contact with the spiritual world and even communicate with spirits or even demons. Ed was a painter, Lorraine, an author. They would do lectures, go to people's family homes and try to rid that home of any spirits or demons that would cause any disturbances for those families. They solved many cases and even took on the much publicized Amityville haunting, which later would be the focus of much ridicule and speculation, especially by skeptics, as to whether the place had really been haunted or not.
Unlike its first film, this one tackles that theme of skepticism and having faith in something when you're not sure if you can believe it. The "characters" of Ed & Lorraine in the film, face that notion head on. As I'm sure they did in real life. As Ed & Lorraine entered into the first movie, they entered into it as a way to solve what was happening. But you felt that they deeply cared about one another. You felt that love that kept each other strong and safe. It was definitely there in the film. However in this one, that binding relationship comes to the forefront and is a main focus of the story due to Lorraine having a terrifying and draining experience while they investigated the Amityville haunting. I would even argue that I could classify this film as part horror and mystery, part romance! I would applaud James and the writers for really finding a satisfying balance between the horror and the heart. The horror has its many shining moments as a new case develops in London, and is ultimately looked into and worked by the Warrens. The suspense, unbearable at times. So much so that you will, as I did, end up hoping and internally begging for the scares to come and provide relief afterwards. But love will always have the upper hand and conquer. And I believe Ed & Lorraine believe that themselves.