Yesterday I got the chance to go see The Conjuring 2, except I never watched the first one. I’ve heard nothing but great things yet I never got actually got to watch it, so I asked my friend to give me a little recap of the first one and marched on in to the darkness of the theater, waiting to be horrified. Except I wasn’t ever mortified while sitting there, I was having a lot of fun and pretty scared and can still call The Conjuring 2 a good movie even though it only made me feel absolutely terrified for only about three scenes from its over two hour runtime.
As a film, The Conjuring 2 works really well, building upon the leads’ interpersonal relationship, humanizing characters and presenting some pretty awesome scenes full of tension and inventive thrills. Scaring, that’s where The Conjuring 2 struggled quite a bit. It had these amazing scenes with great long takes that hovered around the crumbling house in London, establishing a chilling atmosphere and perfectly amounting tension that suddenly transitioned into another scene and we as the audience were left with nothing. This wouldn’t have bothered me that much if it happened once but it happens like six times throughout the film and got pretty annoying when we had already been shown what this demon was capable of.
So, demons, yes there is one in this movie and it’s terrifying. Having the demon embody a nun is an extremely twisted idea that James Wan inserted to produce true terror. The same goes for the old man who’s pretty creepy even though that’s just because he’s an old man. But the demon doesn’t stop there, the demon also takes a third form, Jack Skellington. Now that bothered me, sure it isn’t actually Mr. Skellington but the CGI they use to create the form the demon chooses is so bad it looks quite ridiculous when compared to the nun and the simple choice though not random, feels so unfamiliar and distant fro his other two forms this one just feels like a lesser, stranger choice.
The funny thing about The Conjuring 2 is I walked in awaiting the scares that didn’t always deliver, not expecting much from the actors, but by the end of it I was completely invested in their story and consider the acting in this film its best part. Whether that be shown in Farmiga & Wilson’s down-to-Earth portrayal of the Warren’s or the family dynamic the Hodgson’s exemplify. No performance in this film feels over-the-top, sure there’s the typical ghost reporter and the skeptic thrown into the mix, but since their roles are so tiny they never interfere with the film’s forward-moving structure.
Though it didn’t completely deliver on the scares, I must say whenever The Conjuring 2 hit, it hit a home run. Whether that’s the scene in the trailer, the climactic battle or any other chilling scene, each of these does showcase true terror on the big screen, playing with the idea of being manipulated and completely over-powered. Expanding upon the interpersonal relationship between each of the characters and delivering on some pretty fantastic Poltergeist-like scary moments, The Conjuring 2 does work when its not being bogged down by false scares or Jack Skellington. The Conjuring 2 is a perfectly fine horror flick and though it might not be a masterclass film in the realm of horror, it accomplishes everything it was supposed to as it had enough thrills to keep the audience interested and really involved, well-developed character backstories, leaving me to rate it at a 69 out of 100.