Film: “The Conjuring 2”; Director: James Wan; Cast: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Madison Wolfe, Frances O’Connor, Lauren Esposito, Benjamin Haigh, Patrick Mcauley, Simon McBurney, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Simon Delaney, Franka Potente; Rating: **1/2
Unlike its predecessor “The Conjuring”, this film does not break any new mould in the horror genre. In spite of a heavy dosage of screaming, horror, destruction and gore, the essence of the shock value seems to be missing in “The Conjuring 2”.
“The Conjuring 2” intertwines the stories of two families: The Warrens (Ed and Lorraine, who are based in and were featured in the first instalment) and The Hodgsons, which comprise of Peggy and her four children — Margaret, Janet, Bill and Johnny, who live in Enfield, a borough of London.
In US, clairvoyant Lorraine has premonitions and sees a dark future for her husband Ed, so they mutually decide that they would stop case-studying. Whereas at the Hodgsons’ residence, Janet, Peggy’s younger daughter, is targeted and gradually the entire family is traumatised by an angry spirit who claims he wants his house back.
The narrative jump-starts when, after a self-imposed sabbatical, Ed and Lorraine Warren travel from the US to study and report about the Hodgson family, who are being terrorised by the demonic figure.
At the Hodgsons’ residence, Lorraine can hardly sense any spirits and although she has an odd feeling surrounding her, there is no proof to support the Hodgsons’ claim. That is where the suspense takes over.
It is only when the paranormal investigators ask Janet and her siblings, “How do you feel living in a haunted house?” you realise that “The Conjuring 2” lacks solid content. But with Christmas carols played in the backdrop, the entire drama seems powerful and hedonistic.
Director James Wan does a fantastic job of balancing the plot with thrills. But unfortunately, he is not able to leap over the cliched sequences that every horror film seems to deal with, especially the creaking door, the rattling of the bed, moving of the chair, the rumbling sound, the whistling, the blowing of the wind, the droplets of water, teleporting and levitating and more.
You may feel a little unsettled and that is due to the extremely believable performances by the children.
Madison Wolfe plays Janet to perfection along with Lauren Esposito as Margaret and Benjamin Haigh as the stuttering Billy and PatricK Mcauley as Johnny. They are so realistic in their roles that you forget it is a Hollywood production and begin to think they are actually being documented.
The children are aptly supported by Frances O’Connor as their mother Peggy, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Simon Delaney as their sympathetic neighbours, The Nottinghams, and Franka Potente as the sceptical parapsychologist Anita Gregory.
Patrick Mcauley and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren are effective.
The script credited to the twin Hayes brothers, Chad and Carey along with James Wan and David Leslie Johnson is based on a true event that happened between December 1977 and 1979, and is considered as the Enfield Poltergeist.
The sound designer’s team along with Composer Joseph Bishara’s elevating music, used as the background score brings life to the narration.
Overall, “The Conjuring 2” is a well made film, but lacks the scare factor.