James Wan makes his return to The Conjuring with The Conjuring 2, following real life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren and their encounters, this time setting them investigate the actually documented Enfield Haunting in 1977 after Jane Hodgson was reported to have a poltergeist, the film stars Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga.
There’s a feeling of familiarity with The Conjuring 2, with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga returning as the Warrens as they go to investigate a new paranormal case, with Lorraine still feeling a bit off and as if she herself is being haunted by something but at the same time you get a sense of something new as we find ourselves in 1977 and in North London, Enfield as we follow the Hodgson family. Believability is key here when doing a film based on real events, to have the casting be on point to a level that you can believe in the characters that are essentially real people, whether you believe the supernatural side or not and I think the film does a good enough job at that.
Not that there are too many standouts in the cast overall aside Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga who give some great performances, Farmiga especially, though the girl playing Janet Hodgson did a good job, the costume design also should be given some props as they did a good job in capturing the feel and look of the late 70s as well as the look of the people involved in the Enfield haunting. From the accents and intonations in talking to their style of clothing, it helped to suspend disbelief of this being the 70s.
What works with The Conjuring films above other failed poltergeist centric films including the re-make Poltergeist is that it just doesn’t try too hard, not trying to jump out at you every 5 minutes with a jump scare or loud noise, the horror here is in knowing something is out there and seeing it just out of view or blurred, that for me at least makes the fear all the more visceral and ‘real’. That and not relying too heavily on CGI help to curate some better scares and while I didn’t find the film as ‘scary’ as The Conjuring, I still get that there some disturbing and freaky scenes peppered throughout the plot though, all the more disturbing because a little girl was at the centre of all of this and because of the trauma it caused the family, that emotional core to the story helps to draw you in and empathise with the situation.
Also bringing the Warrens more into the fold/events was an interesting touch, while fictitious, it brought an interesting angle to proceedings as Ed and Lorraine – more so Lorraine, found herself affected by their lifestyle and the spirits they interact with, you could argue that this aspect is a bit un-needed with the haunting and all but a little dash of Hollywood drama didn’t detract too much from the films quality, being overall engaging and often frightening.
. Easy to follow, engaging plot
. Strong performances from the cast, Farmiga especially
. Plot may feel a bit by the numbers as far as Poltergeist stories go