In Enfield, North London, a young girl is repeatedly haunted by a poltergeist. Fearing for her soul, the Catholic Church calls in Ed and Lorraine Warren to verify the case. When they get there the pair are faced with an evil unlike anything they have previously encountered.
James Wan returns with the sequel of The Conjuring, which like its predecessor follows real life adventures of real life ghostbusters, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). Anticipated audiences watch as they poke their beaks into a nasty case of demonic possession for over two hours.
Wan zips beyond that of the previous story line (a Rhode Island isolated farm house with horrific goings-on) to the Enfield case which, although famous, perhaps isn’t as played out as Amityville – the setting of the first film. For a while, as with the original, we get two movies running on parallel tracks, flitting between the Hodgson’s, as Janet and her mum Peggy (Frances O’Connor, excellent) try desperately to cope with constant spectral invasion; and the Warrens as they recuperate at home, waiting for the calm to turn into a storm. But when the Warrens pitch up in London, the intensity is driven up a notch.
Having watched Sky1’s version of The Enfield Haunting, there were a lot of similarities between the stories; however, the film was more focused on the Warren’s involvement than that of the Hodgson’s and this time they brought a creepy spectral nun which had haunted Lorraine since Amityville.
This creepy nun was the scarier element compared to the poltergeist possessing Janet and one particular instance with a painting was enough to get most of the audience looking at the corner of the cinema for a while. Jump scares are often sneered at, and they are often the easy way out: something leaps out from the edge of the frame, accompanied by LOUD NOISES, job’s done. Use enough of them and you’ve got a horror film instead of any other genre. Yet when they’re done well, they can turn a horror film into a wonderful, terrifying experience – as you scream, you’re also laughing because you know that you’ve been had; conned, even, into jumping out of your seat. Very few modern horror filmmakers can time a jump scare as effectively as Wan, and he delivers here, his constantly roving camera finding all kinds of nooks and crannies in which evil can lurk. There are some great scenes in which this is used – the shot where Janet finds herself in a room filled with crucifixes, only to find them turning slowly upside down which is enormous fun to watch and best seen with a crowd. The standout moment, though, comes when Wan bolts his camera to the floor and lets a conversation between Wilson’s Ed and the poltergeist, which calls itself Bill Wilkins, play out in a single shot. Speaking of Bill, the voice is a bit hilarious and at least that takes your mind off of the nun.
Like with any horror film it does have its flaws. The creep nun's story line has a lot of coincidental happens with gaping plot holes. The dull, drab house just happens to have a massive cellar that is used time and time again to drag people in or trap people or frighten people in some way. One horror pet peeve of mine is when the characters know what’s going to happen and instead of running away to save their lives they think they’re immortal and go in anyway. Why?! There were moments where I was laughing out of sheer idiocy of the characters and did think that if I threw popcorn at them they would pick better choices. They didn't. But clichés are exactly avoidable when it comes to classic horror.
However, the performances are excellent across the board, while Wilson and Farmiga are tremendous as a married couple utterly devoted to each other. Their relationship is the movie’s emotional anchor, and proves that horror films can be sweet, surprising, and even charming. Even ones with demonic nuns. I can’t forget the nun I’m sorry.
Would I go see it again?
Hmm I don’t think so. This is a generic horror film, a good one because of its actors and story but generic. I’m fascinated with the story but I think I’ll stick to more believable evidence such as the Sky1 three part series which shows the Enfield case in more depth.
Would I recommend it?
I recommend all horror films because jumping out of your seat and popcorn flying everywhere is a must. This actually happened to my friend sitting next to me. And at the very least it’s fun to poke holes in the story like I did. So it’s entertaining either way.