By Sean Kranske, Contributing Writer
Director James Wan has again struck horror gold with his new film, The Conjuring 2. Wan proves that not all horror movie sequels are rushed cash-grabs by making a film that both compliments its predecessor and improves the already established formula.
The Conjuring 2 excels as both a sequel and a standalone horror story. The film follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) as they assist a child, Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe), who has been attacked by an evil spirit.
The story isn’t particularly ambitious, but familiar scenes are executed well enough to make it feel fresh. There are plenty of jump scares to keep the audience on its toes, but there are not false scares often exploited in modern horror films; the scares always come from a demon or poltergeist activity.
The structure of The Conjuring 2 is also very familiar; day-time scenes are for character development and night-time scenes are for scares. The night-time segments are the selling point of this movie, but the characters and humor in this film make the day-time scenes surprisingly enjoyable. The relationship between the Warrens is explored, and they become much more interesting characters than in the original film. Wolfe’s portrayal as Janet is also an impressive performance from a child actor and is a highlight of the film.
Trailers like to stress that the film is ‘based on a true story,’ but this claim works against the film. This is the kind of movie to watch with your brain turned off, and those hoping for a realistic account of paranormal events will be disappointed. It is just too over-the-top to be taken as anything other than a fun horror movie. Suspension of belief is required when watching the movie, as it is with most other horror films.
The Conjuring 2 may not be a ground-breaking horror masterpiece, but it is a fun movie with plenty of crazy scares. This is a particularly fun movie to see in a theater with an audience full of people if possible. This movie excels at hyping up the viewers by ensuring that everybody is simultaneously scared and happy, and there’s not much more you could want from a horror movie.