Year of Release: 2016
Director: James Wan
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Frances O'Connor, Madison Wolfe, Lauren Esposito, Simon McBurney, Franka Potente, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Simon Delaney, Benjamin Haigh, Sterling Jerins, Patrick McAuley, Bob Adrian, Bonnie Aarons
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
James Wan has created a body of work that, at its most successful, leverages influences from diverse films from such acclaimed directors such as John Carpenter, Brian DePalma and Roman Polanski. He understands that horror comes from the creation of a human element that is approachable, and consequently from familiar situations that suddenly become menacing. Unlike many of the horror films from the last decade, which anchored themselves on gore and hyperbolic violence, his films live from the creation of an environment, and the introduction of supernatural elements in the midst of families and their suburban tranquility (which was also the case of Tobe Hooper's "Poltergeist" and even William Friedkin's "The Exorcist"). Where "The Conjuring" successfully and pragmatically went through the possession case of a family, the sequel tries to tie more loose ends with the different characters, and ends up feeling more gratuitously convoluted, and ultimately not as successful. It's still a film that holds the attention, builds an environment, and allows for the characters to exist beyond simple stereotypes. Less effective than the original, but still an interesting film.