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The Conjuring 2




The Conjuring 2 (R)
Film reviews by Amy Diaz

06/16/16
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



The Conjuring 2 (R)

Ed and Lorraine Warren check out more spooky happenings, this time in England, in the late 1970s in The Conjuring 2, a solid if overlong horror movie.
Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor) and her four children — Janet (Madison Wolfe), Margaret (Lauren Esposito), Billy (Benjamin Haigh) and Johnny (Patrick McAuley) — are scraping by in London, dealing with financial woes brought about in part, we’re led to believe, by their father’s abandonment. As if life isn’t hard enough for the Hodgsons, the kids start experiencing strangeness: the kids’ toys seem to have a life of their own, furniture moves for no good reason, Janet sleepwalks and even sleep-fights. Eventually, she begins to channel someone or something that claims the house is its house and the family should get out. 
As the Hodgsons gain more notoriety, experts in the paranormal turn up to try to figure out what might be harassing the family — or if there’s anything supernatural afoot at all. Eventually, the Warrens — Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) — are asked to investigate. But while looking into the Amityville house where a man murdered his family, Lorraine is confronted by a horrific creature dressed as a nun. The presence scares her so much she doesn’t necessarily want anything to do with any more cases but is eventually persuaded by her husband that they need to try to help the Hodgson family. 
A modest proposal: maybe evil spirits and other supernatural whatnots could tighten up the “messing with you” stage of their hauntings. Like maybe the scary-rocking-chair/unexplained banging noise part of a haunting could be combined with some of the more getting-down-to-business phases. A scene in this movie where a TV remote suddenly appears at odd places in the room is cute and all, but it is also a bit of spooky underlining that isn’t really needed. I mean, I’m at a horror movie, I’m pretty on board with the idea of a ghost. This movie, which clocks in at two hours and 14 minutes, does not need all the padding. 
Padding is probably the worst sin this movie commits. This movie, like the original Conjuring or Insidious, has a really enjoyable sensibility. The movie itself is smart and well-constructed but the feel is more laid back and less contrived than your average teens-in-the-woods jump-scare flick. I don’t know whether it’s the 1970s settings or the presence of serious grown-up actors or a certain viewpoint that has the characters in the scary situation act in a way that is believable for how normal, non-horror-movie people would approach it — probably, it’s some combination of the three that gives this movie its special sauce. 
The trio of Wilson, Farmiga and O’Connor also gives this movie some oomph. Even when the story drags, their performances help to pull the movie through.
The Conjuring 2 impresses mostly in how it hasn’t run through its concept yet. The Wilson-Farmiga pairing really works — they have a natural couple sensibility. I would happily watch them in a The Conjuring 3, especially if it could come in about 30 minutes shorter. B-
Rated R for terror and horror violence. Directed by James Wan with a screenplay by Carey Hayes & Chad Hayes & James Wan and David Johnson, The Conjuring 2 is two hours and 14 minutes long and distributed by Warner Bros. 
 





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