Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Conjuring 2

Movie Name: The Conjuring 2
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
Genre: Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

Director James Wan continues his successful streak, with a sequel to his great 2013 feature, "The Conjuring". The film focuses on another story recorded by Lorraine and Ed Warren. The film starts with the couple trying to understand the events surrounding the iconic Amityville mansion, and the impact that has on Lorraine, who through her visions manages to see something menacing in the house. The film then shifts the attention to a family in London, who is experiencing some disturbing events in their house. The family, comprised of recently separated mother Peggy Hodgson, with her 4 children, is experiencing a spirit in their house, that haunts them constantly, particularly the young Janet, who seems to be the main focus of attention. When things escalate dramatically, the Warrens are drawn to the case, in order to try to assess if the situation is a hoax or an actual case of possession. What they find surprises them beyond their expectations.
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.