The Conjuring 2: Oooh Isn’t England Scary – My Thoughts

This year saw one of my favourite horrors in years in The Witch (or The VVitch – depending on how you want to be) so I was feeling pretty good about the genre this year after that and having seen trailers for upcoming horrors later in the year but in the middle of all that was this one, The Conjuring 2…certainly a more mainstream horror than most I tend to like but that doesn’t mean it’s any less good…

In fact, this is also one of the best horror films I’ve seen in years. Better than the 1st?? Multiple viewings would be required before I make that judgement. I saw this one on Tuesday after it had already generated buzz in the U.S for being on par with, or even better than the first and these reviews got me incredibly excited. We, as horror fans, have the first Conjuring to thank for bringing us out of the ‘dark times’ of horror cinema where near enough every horror that was released was panned (and rightly so). Yes, there were some good horrors that came out from the years 2005-13 but the first Conjuring really was the one to bring us back to good quality horror. Something I was seriously missing. In HorrorHouse Episode 2, I spoke about how I thought that James Wan is the one true great of modern horror directing and I certainly stand by that after The Conjuring 2. He is, in my eyes, responsible for bringing the things that I enjoy about horror back onto screens.

Yes, I am very partial to a good gore-fest every once in a while, but who isn’t. The reason I love horror though is for the atmosphere and that is exactly what Wan brought back into the genre¬†with both Conjuring films. The excessive torture-porn phase of the late 2000s was one that had NO atmosphere in it and, as we all know, entirely focussed on who could come up with the most gruesome way to die. While there is certainly a place for that in the genre, it should not be front and centre. For me, that should always be a created dark and intense atmosphere.

The Conjuring 2 has that atmosphere nailed down. It is a genuinely unnerving and chilling film and is exactly what I was looking for walking in. I’m not one for getting scared by horror films although if it’s a good one, it’ll certainly leave an impression on me. The Conjuring 2 left an impression on me. I’m going to refrain from comparing it to the first one because I believe it stands very well on its own but I will say this. The Conjuring series is the story of Ed and Lorraine Warren and those two wonderful characters were built on excellently in this second film. There is a scene in the film where Ed (Patrick Wilson) plays the guitar and sings Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ which at first glance seemed out of place but after some thought I realised it just helps develop Ed as a character and was a beautiful showcase of a family in such joy in such a time of horror.

I am so thankful when a supernatural/possession horror is done correctly as there have been some real bombs in recent years. That’s perhaps why I enjoyed The Conjuring 2 as much as I did because it did everything a supernatural horror should do…and it did it well. Occasionally there were a few cheaper ‘jump scares’ but for the most part, when Wan could’ve resorted to a jump scare that, while perhaps being effective in a startling manner, would have left a disappointed feeling in me, he didn’t. He let tension build and build and build that in some scenes resorted to just a flick of something happening but just enough so you know something is wrong. I will admit that the film did have it’s fair share of ‘scary’ moments but what I much preferred about it were the quiet, tense scenes of terror that chilled the audience to the core.

When a horror film like this comes out that everyone and their mother wants to see, it often can be disappointing in the same way a blockbuster superhero film can be but The Conjuring 2 certainly didn’t disappoint me. The atmosphere of terror that I love about horror was consistently there. The characters of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) were developed wonderfully when a lazier filmmaker could’ve left them two dimensional, the overall cast were great in their roles. Particularly impressive was Madison Wolfe as Janet Hodgson, the young girl in the forefront of the haunting. I always love to see a young actor pull off a role that could have gone horribly wrong…and she did just that.

Perhaps this one affected me more due to it being set in England, albeit in the south whereas I am in the north but it definitely felt closer to home than the first film did. One thing I do love about The Conjuring series is that these stories are true. Yes, they are embellished slightly for the screen but the fact that the hauntings are true make us feel much more afraid than we would if they weren’t.

Full credit to James Wan and everyone involved in this project…in my eyes, and seemingly many others, it was a success. I’m just looking forward to the 3rd one now!!

Be sure to let me know your thoughts on The Conjuring 2 in the comments and check me out on Twitter and Instagram! If you are a fan of horror, which you may very well be reading this, then also be sure to check out HorrorHouse Podcast, a new, bi-weekly show hosted by ME for all you horror fans out there!!

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