The Conjuring 2: Electric Boogaloo
Dir. James Wan (2016)
This time, Ed and Lorraine Warren face off against the Enfield Haunting, one of the most famous poltergeist cases in history.
The Conjuring Universe (hereafter referred to as CU) is the perfect definition of a franchise: the time between the first and second movies is just long enough to make people excited for the next one, and then the time gets shorter and shorter between the second movie and the rest, all the while sinking in quality throughout with a few bright spots along the way. The Conjuring 2, the second movie in the franchise, is, thankfully, really good as well, with enough scares and interesting scenes that make it worth a watch even if you’re not trying to go through the entire franchise. Based around the Enfield Haunting, one of England’s most famous haunting cases, we get more scares than the first while maintaining a lot of the feel and cinematography that made the first worthwhile. Unfortunately, we also get a little bit of diminishing returns, as the second movie in the series is almost never as good as the first.
With one very large exception…
The good thing about the Conjuring 2 is that it introduced us to several genuinely scary characters that we will see pop up later in the Universe, with the Nun (Valak) and the Crooked Man (who will be the subject of an upcoming CU movie) rearing their incredibly ugly heads during the film’s runtime. Not to mention, the initial scenes (and honestly every one thereafter) involving the Nun are some of the scariest moments ever put in celluloid. Regardless of your feelings of the Conjuring 2 or the entire CU, the Nun is fucking terrifying, full stop. The other great thing about the Conjuring 2 is it is another appearance for Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, who are killing it throughout the entire franchise even when the movie they’re in sucks. I’ve loved Patrick Wilson for a long time, and he’s excellent in every role I’ve seen him in.
The children are creepy throughout as well, which is always a nice sight in a horror movie. James Wan is incredible, as we’ve already discussed at length, and his particular set of skills lends greatly to the impressiveness of both of the first films in the CU. The scares are there, the atmosphere is sufficiently creepy, and the added layer of the test of credibility in the film really helps to dissuade some of the criticisms that the Warrens receive in regards to the Conjuring films (though the extent to which these tests were actually performed may be in question.) The whole film feels as believable as the first, if any films like this can ever be described as such. The Enfield Haunting is also one of the more documented ghostly cases in history, with dozens of eyewitnesses, news stories, police reports, and investigations, and even the people who have tried their best to debunk it offer theories of how it “could” be faked. Out of all of the cases of paranormal phenomena that I have researched, Enfield seems to be the least disproved, which makes this film’s dramatization a bit more believable than most movies dealing with the paranormal.
All in all, I’m thankful for the universe as a whole because it gave us some genuinely scary scenes and some excellent performances from actors both young and old (more on that when we get to the Annabelle movies.) The universe has given us two really great movies, several that were really good and watchable, and only a couple outright duds. And we can all be grateful when any film gives us one of the more terrifying faces in horror.
Someone's in desperate need of a dentist
Who this movie is for: Mainstream horror fans; Possession and Haunted House fans; Lapsed Catholics
Bottom line: Another great outing from James Wan, the Conjuring 1 and 2 were easy additions to the staple horror movies that need to be re-watched from time to time. I won’t go further into the defense of the Warrens and the movies based on their exploits, but if you don’t like the Conjuring movies we can’t be friends.