“Does the voice feel like it’s coming from inside of you?” asks Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga). “More like it’s coming from behind me, like I’m being used,” answers 11 year-old Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe). “What does it say?” asks Lorraine. “It said it wants to hurt you,” replies Janet. “When did it say that?” asks a disturbed Lorraine. “Right now,” answers Janet who has, along with her family, been haunted by a malicious spirit in the horror sequel, The Conjuring 2.
It’s 1977 and the Hodgson family of Enfield, England begins experiencing some paranormal activity in their home. The youngest daughter Janet seems to be the main target of the angry spirit, but her older sister, Margaret (newcomer Lauren Esposito), also witnesses strange events. At first the mother, Peggy (Frances O’Connor), doesn’t believe her daughters when they talk about weird sounds and furniture moving by itself. Then one night Janet and Margaret try again to explain what they saw and Peggy orders them back to bed only to witness the girls’ big dresser slide quickly to the other side of the room, slamming into the bedroom door and forcing it closed.
The family is approached by the press and a ghost chaser to document their story, and Peggy – hoping it will lead to finding someone who can help her family – agrees. The story of the haunted Hodgson home reaches the Catholic Church, and the priest who’s worked with paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren on their earlier cases asks them to investigate the Enfield haunting to see if it’s real or a hoax. Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine travel to England in the hopes of discovering the truth of what is really going on with the Hodgson family, determine if they’re truly being terrorized by something supernatural, and if so find a way to save them.
Based on a true story, The Conjuring 2 is an exceptionally creepy, hair-raising horror film that’s in the same style and feel as the first film. The Conjuring director James Wan returns to helm the sequel and solidifies his standing as the new master of first-rate horror films. Wan uses the classic old-school style of movie-making to earn legitimate scares, employing the use of shadows, light, rain, eerie sounds, and ghostly white faces in the dark to create suspense and a terrifying feeling of real evil. Truly disturbing is the demonic-looking nun who Lorraine keeps seeing.
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson reprise their roles and have great chemistry as married paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. There seems to be an even closer and deeper connection between the couple in this film, and it’s not a leap to believe Ed and Lorraine can complete each other’s thoughts. Farmiga conveys perfectly her concern for the Hodgson family, especially young Janet, as well as her overwhelming fear that she might lose her husband to the evil that is targeting her family and seems to be determined to kill Ed. Wilson delivers a strong performance once again as Ed who quickly becomes determined to try to help the family from the malevolent entity attacking them despite Lorraine’s concerns for his safety. It’s the relationship and love between the Warrens that gives the film its few bright and uplifting scenes. Young Madison Wolfe gives an amazing performance as Janet Hodgson the 11 year-old girl who gets the brunt of the abuse from the spirit and begins to become possessed by it. She delivers hands-down the best performance in the film.
The production design is first-rate, bringing back to life 1977 England with the clothes, cars, buildings, and the equipment the Warren’s use in their ghost hunting. The ominous musical score is very effective at adding tension to the scenes and helping to build suspense. Guaranteed to raise goosebumps up and down your spine, The Conjuring 2 is an extremely scary, nerve-racking and terrifying film that’s sure to go down in film history as one of the best sequels of all time. Make sure to see it up on the big screen but DO NOT SEE IT ALONE! You have been warned.
MPAA Rating: R for terror and horror violence
Running Time: 133 minutes
Release Date: June 10, 2016