The Fear is Real in The Conjuring 2
The horror movie repertoire behind James Wan is staggering, each film better than the last. Starting with the monumental game changer that was Saw to Dead Silence then the Insidious series; James Wan probably knows the horror genre better than any director working in it today. When he took on one of the stories of Ed and Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring it was his first jump into “based on true events” horror and he and his crew managed to take what he was able to accomplish with Insidious: Chapter One and Insidious: Chapter Two and capitalize on it, the aspect of the unknown glazed in unbelievable terror and reality. So what does The Conjuring 2 accomplish that The Conjuring hasn’t already by itself? Simply put, everything.
The Conjuring 2 is probably James Wan’s finest horror achievement to date. It’s frightening beyond anything I’ve ever witnessed; it’s captivating, its intriguing, and above all it’s incredibly well researched according to the original documents. The Conjuring 2 tells the story of the Enfield poltergeist, what’s said to be England’s Amityville. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are back as Ed and Lorraine Warren, church appointed paranormal investigators. The script from Cary and Chad Hayes (The Conjuring) puts stronger emphasis on their relationship than they had prior. The two leads get mountains more to work with, which is saying a lot since they cemented their characters pretty quickly in the first film.
The fear in The Conjuring 2 is palpitating, it’s rich and juicy, it’s absolutely unbelievably terrifying.
The Hodgson family is brilliant, from the littlest child to the mother, all bring a sense of fear in their own way. That’s one of the things this film capitalizes on more than any horror movie I think I’ve ever seen. The sense of fear is real. Each character is frightened beyond their wildest beliefs and it shows in a way that I can’t quite explain. The fear in The Conjuring 2 is palpitating, it’s rich and juicy, it’s absolutely unbelievably terrifying. James Wan somehow managed to top his already frightening visuals from Insidious and The Conjuring by bringing in an even more harrowing character than ever before.
But there’s more to The Conjuring 2 than just fear, than just horror. There’s a strange balance of love and loyalty, of calmness and beauty. There’s something deeper than horror in the film, there’s a sense of reality in the characters. These are not people you’re just waiting to watch die; they aren’t just meat sacks ready for the knife. You truly feel for these characters, you don’t just want survival, you want life and love. There are so many subtly beautiful moments in The Conjuring 2 that make you pain for what’s happening to this family, to the Warrens, to everyone involved. This is where I believe James Wan has done something he never has before, not that his previous characters were ever shallow or under-utilized; but here they are magnified, given a life that we haven’t seen in the genre for a very long time. It’s a breath of frightening fresh air that I gladly gulped down to quench my thirst.
But there’s more to The Conjuring 2 than just fear, than just horror. There’s a strange balance of love and loyalty, of calmness and beauty.
The Conjuring 2 doesn’t just work as a horror movie; it works as a film. The amount of detail that was taken into consideration to mimic the true events to a pinpoint are quite astounding. I felt so enthralled by the story of the film that as soon as I got home I found myself researching the true story of the Enfield poltergeist. Wan and his team really did their research, they dug and they brought up some very important moments in the story that I feel many other “based on true events” would twist and exaggerate to capitalize on the shock value.
As the credits of The Conjuring 2 scrolled by we were given a side by side comparison to the real life photos of the events of the Enfield poltergeist. The amount of detail was epic. The house was recreated almost to the T. It’s easy to see why James Wan returned to the horror genre one last time to direct The Conjuring 2 instead of receiving a “life altering” amount of money for Fast 8. This film meant something to him and he needed to share that with his fan base, with lovers of horror. It’s a film that should be absolutely enjoyed by all horror fans. It will have you crying tears of fear, screaming and hiding. It’ll have you cursing and yelling and it’s all absolutely worth it. I think I can honestly say that The Conjuring 2 is my new favorite horror film, and yes I know that’s a very bold statement.