The Conjuring 2 is the sequel to the first Conjuring movie that released in 2013. James Wan is back at the helm of directing, and returning with him is Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren along with a few new faces. Madison Wolfe, Frances O’Connor, Lauren Esposito, Benjamin Haigh and Patrick McAuley take the roles of the new family this time around. The previous two writers return with a couple of new ones. Carey Hayes and Chad Hayes both return to co-write The Conjuring 2 along with a credit from James Wan, the director himself, and David Leslie Johnson, all who worked on the screenplay. Joseph Bishara is returning to compose the music again. But this time, we have a new cinematographer. Don Burgess takes the place of John R. Leonetti. The Conjuring 2 takes place a few years after the events of the first Conjuring. Set in England, The Conjuring 2 is about a woman and her four kids that start being tormented by an evil spirit that seeks to control one of the daughters.
It has been quite a while since I’ve watched a modern horror movie and actually legitimately cared about the characters. The Conjuring 2 does a very good job at showing the internal struggles of each character (well all of the ones it needs to focus on) and bringing those to light in the climax. The Conjuring 2 plays on the conflicts of marriage, something I wasn’t expecting at all from this movie, or a horror movie really. It was an interesting dynamic; one I wish it touched on a little bit more (I’ll get into later).
The Conjuring 2 also dives deeper on a spiritual level on how an evil spirits overtakes someone. There is a great conversation between Vera Farmiga and the daughter who is being tormented by the spirit on this topic, and it is a very, very good conversation, one of my favorite moments in the film. This interaction between these characters really grounded them for me, it showed me how much more development this movie has over its predecessor. In the first Conjuring movie I felt the family was a little too big, and not all of the important characters were given the right development. It tried to develop all of them at once, which is a hard task in two hours. In Conjuring 2, instead of focusing on every family member, it gives us a little development for each one, but has its main focus where its main focus needs to be. The mother and the daughter. This made Conjuring 2, for me, a better experience than the previous film.
Being that the family members in Conjuring 2 don’t have as much focus the Conjuring 1, they are less developed than Conjuring. I connected more with the family as a whole in the first Conjuring than the second. But Conjuring 2 doesn’t really put the family members it doesn’t focus on in unneeded danger. I felt it didn’t overstep its boundary to try and force me to care when I don’t have a reason to, and it kind of makes up for that. That’s not to say that each family member is put in some kind of danger, they are. But it is never unnecessary danger made for entertainment. It helps give more to the story as well as show the spirit’s infestation on the family. And even though I don’t feel as connected, the movie never makes me feel like I completely need to be, it’s main focus in the family is the mother and her daughter, not every single member of the family this time. It gave the film a little more focus than last time.
The marital relationship between Ed and Lorraine Warren in this movie took a serious step up from Conjuring 1. It felt more grounded here, more realistic. It brought one of the central conflicts of this movie to light and played off of it well. If there is one problem I had with the presented relationship, it would have to be that it feels a little too perfect. If a movie wants to really display a dynamic of marriage, then maybe have a conflict between Ed and Lorraine and show how they work together to fix it. A struggle that only Ed and Lorraine deal with between their marriage, which could be something the spirit uses later on to attack them. Although I enjoy the marriage aspect of this film, it does feel a little shallow than what I feel it could have been. It would have been an interesting dynamic to show the opposing side of the mother of the family who just recently lost her husband as well.
One of the upgrades for this movie is its cinematography. The new cinematographer this time around kept the sense of the original style (the zoom shots and wide angles) but also brought along a few new tricks. He used a lot more crane shots, tracking shots, and an abundant use of the wide-angle lens. He never wasted space on the frame. Plus, one thing I noticed was that this movie is almost in constant motion. Whether it’s the movement of the characters, or the camera itself, the movie seldom ceases to move unless we are in a segment that doesn’t require movement. I came to realize that it helps with the pacing of the film. Overall, the movie is a slowly paced movie. But the constant motion helped give this film a buttery feel to it. Even though the story has slowed down to develop, we still feel like we are moving. I thought that was interesting.
The Conjuring 2 takes previous knowledge of current horror movies today and shuffles it around a little to mess with its audience. There would be times when I expected there to be a jump scare that never came. Or a jump scare that did happen, but at an unexpected time. There are a few jump scares here, but they always help the films tone, rather than just trying to scare the audience. There are also subtle movements on the sides of the frame that last for a brief moment, causing me to ask what it was. This movie’s excellent use of its style of cinematography was what sold it to me as a scary film. The Conjuring 2 is not afraid to show the audience what is on screen, creating an atmosphere that is quite chilling.
The Conjuring 2 is a good horror movie. I feel it may not be as scary as its predecessor. The house may be smaller with a smaller family that is still rather large. But it works much better than the first one. It develops the right characters on a deeper level than the first Conjuring. It has great suspense, and an overall fantastic tone. It never dives into topics it doesn’t need to go, and always stays on track. It does use a few of the normal horror clichés, but it’s the way that it utilizes those clichés that makes the movie all the more enjoyable. I do feel the movie gets a little muddy at points when explaining its story, especially towards the middle of the second half, but it’s never to a point where it will lose you. And the conflicts it brings to the table, although good and interesting conflicts, I feel could have been explored on more realistic and deeper level. I see The Conjuring 2 as a great sequel. Dare I say, just as good, if not better, than its predecessor. Normal audiences and horror-film fanatics alike will have a lot of fun with this film, even if they are just going to be scared. I’m giving The Conjuring 2 an 8/10, a high recommend, especially if you are a fan of the first one.