June 20, 2016

Theatrical Review: The Conjuring 2 (2016)

"The first one was better."

(aka Amityville: Enfield.)
Release Date: June 10th.
Country: USA.
Rating: R.
Written by: Carey and Chad Hayes.
Directed by: James Wan.
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O'Connor, Franka Potente, and Madison Wolfe.

The first Conjuring (review HERE) impressed us, and solidified James Wan as one of the best Horror directors working today, at least in our minds.

While this sequel is every bit as competent a film as the original, and it pretty much follows the same familiar blueprint, storywise, it just didn't scare us all that much. Oh, the Nun was great, but she was added in post-production, so really, the best part of the movie was an afterthought of sorts.

The Conjuring 2 is a solid movie, we just expected way more from it.

Ed and Lorraine Warren are in Amityville, NY, circa 1976, investigating the whole Amityville Horror thing. While doing so, Lorraine slips into a trance, relives the murders, and witnesses a creepy Demon Nun impaling her husband. After Ed snaps her out of it, she decides that she needs a break, and decides to take no more new cases... at least for a while.

A year later, across the pond in the Enfield borough of London, a family of five has a run-in with an angry spirit named Bill who insists that their flat is his. The spirit starts doing spooky things like moving furniture and yelling "My house!" in a demonic voice, presumably to scare them off. The second-oldest daughter, Janet, seems to be the focal point of the haunting, becoming a conduit for the ghostly happenings. The media gets wind of it, and Lorraine and Ed are called in by the church to observe the situation.

Is Janet faking her possession? Is the whole thing real? Is there a more sinister force behind the whole Enfield Haunting, that is determined to eat Lorraine and Ed's souls? Far be it from us to spoil anything for you here, but of course it's all real! It's based on a true story, after all.

Fresh of the massively successful Furious 7 (which earned a tidy $1.5 Billion worldwide), James Wan returns to his Horror roots with a sequel to his most successful Horror effort, The Conjuring. The guy knows how to scare an audience, and even though The Conjuring 2 feels a bit too busy and runs a bit too long, he still knows how to get the job done.

As short as it was, we loved the Amityville opening, and wished that it would have been longer. We also liked everything involving The Nun, as she was super creepy, and we're happy to know that she's getting her own movie, which is already in the works. Vera Farmiga is also on point in this one, as she's turning into one of the Genre's finest, and classiest, Scream Queens.

The Conuring 2 runs a good 20-minutes too long, and its plot was over-complicated. The first Conjuring movie felt lean and mean to us, like James Wan trimmed all of the excess fat away, and made every shot, every second, count. With this 134-minute-long sequel, it felt like he did exactly the opposite, and added so many sub-plots to the movie, that it killed the scary ghost story that made up its core.

There were also a ton of jump-scares, which is to be expected, but it just felt like there were too many. And every time the camera focused on something scary, and then panned away, only to pan back and reveal something jump-scary, it did nothing for us. James Wan is obviously a big fan of The Rule of Three

It really felt like two different movies running concurrently. The first involved Lorraine and Ed, rightly so, and the visions that she keeps having of the creepy Nun, and of Ed's potential death; the second involves the family in England whose house is being haunted. The story jumps back and forth between the two, and while it brings them together towards the end, it felt like neither storyline got the full attention that they deserved. 

What was with the Starsky & Hutch posters all over that little girls wall? I mean, it was a cool show and all, but who knew that they were heartthrobs in 1970's England?

As with most of James Wan's Haunted House flicks, the gore is kept to a very small minimum in this one.


Demon Nuns are fairly terrifying.

The Conjuring 2 is a really good movie that we expected a lot more from in the scare department. It's clear that James Wan is on top of his directing game at this point in his career, but it also feels like he's losing sight of what got him to this point, which is knowing how to deliver stripped-down, effective scares. This sequel is already a worldwide hit, but it just didn't live up to the first one for us.

It's a decent watch though, and we're not mad that we gave it our time.


The Conjuring 2 is in theaters now.

Oh, Vera...


  1. Yeah, that nun was creepy. Will be interesting to see how her own movie turns out.

    - Zach (http://fadetozach.blogspot.com)

  2. Just a note but you said in the downright horrendous section that the Starsky and Hutch posters were out of place, but in the real case photos you can see them in the room.


    1. I merely meant out of place in a young girl's room in England. I never realized the show was so popular abroad :)

    2. Yeah, that would surprise me also.
      In the 70's, England has all their own shows that the broadcast. Things that we have never even heard of, just like other parts of the world have their own stuff.

      My biggest problem with this movie is that the 2 things that were in the movie, Amityville and Enfield, were both proven to be hoaxes. kinda killed is for me.They should have done another story that was based on a case of theirs but one that was low profile and not famous.

  3. I enjoyed it. For me it was scarier than the first one but still not particularly scary.

    What it does really well IMO is build characters I like AND bring a sense of resolution to the story. That makes this and the first one fairly rare in the genre. In general writers and directors seem to lazy (or incompetent) to care about likeable characters, but without them I don't get a sense of tension from the story.

    Oh - and James Wan's an Aussie - that's good too.

  4. ROFL. Three stars? So, this is just a half-point above Ouija?

    Dude, your rating system is completely nonsensical. I don't care if you dislike something, but at least have some internal consistency if you're going to make recommendations to others.

    1. Listen, our ratings system isn't nonsensical at all. We don't grade on a curve, we grade each movie individually, based on what it is and what we felt about it at the time. Each movie is what it is, and it has nothing to do woth what other movies are or aren't.

      Someone seems to be obsessed with Ouija, and comparing every movie we review to it over the past week, so let's take a look.

      We gave Ouija a C-.
      We gave Conjuring 2 a B-.

      That's a full letter grade, and there are reasons that each movie was graded as such.

      In our review of Ouija, I clearly state that I was being generous with the grade, because we didn't find it as abysmal as so many others did. Same goes for The Conjuring 2; we didn't quite find it to be the "4 Star" movie that so many other seem to think it is. Both movies are middle of the road efforts to us, but Conjuring 2 is clearly the better made film. either film's grade has nothing to do with the other, and they shouldn't.

      If we graded on a curve, then we'd have to go back and consiider all of the movies we've reviewed every time we reviewed a new one. Given that there's nearly 900 of them, that would be impossible. And ridiculous.

      There's more to a review than the number of "stars" or a letter grade; like the reasoning behind the rating, and the words used to explain that reasoning.

      Ouija wasn't THAT bad.
      The Conjuring 2 wasn't THAT good.

      A full letter grade apart is how we see them. You're free to see them however you like.

    2. Alright, fair enough. The letter grades do seem fairly reasonable, now that I see how they compare.

    3. We really do try to be as objective as possible, even if personal taste creeps in there every once in a while :)

  5. I love the part when Ed singing Can't Help Falling in Love in front of the Hodgson family. It was my favorite and felt so warm for a horror film like this, especially that eye glance to Lorraine.

  6. I still laugh everytime I remember your review of Insidious (yes I discoverd James Wan thanks to this blog... much appreciated btw): "What is Darth Maul doing behind her?"
    Years later, I see the Nun and I'm like: "What is Marilyn Manson doing behind her?" :D
    On a more serious note, am I the only one who noticed James Wan's tribute to The Babadook in this movie?

    1. :)

      I noticed James Wan's tributes to a few movies in this movie

  7. Starsky and Hutch were HUGE in 70s Britain. Of course we had our own shows but sometimes a US import became far more popular here than in the States. Of course there were only 3 TV channels which helped.

  8. A solid horror movie but until the last minutes, the Warrens didn't believe the family and didn't work together to catch the ghost. And in fact, Lorraine refused to invest much into the investigation because she was afraid that her vision of Ed's death would come true. Of course, this is understandable but this made the movie torn apart.

    The nun was creepy but it didn't really make sense that she was the powerful demon. Or I missed this part. Nonetheless, I think I will turn in for the movie of this character.

  9. So for once we agree on a movie rating. Perhaps this is the beginning of a wonderful relationship. I do agree with other posters as well in the sense that the Nun was very very creepy but for that demon to be the source of the issue was a bit of reach in the context of BOTH films. Still it WAS entertaining and aptly rated as a B-