The Return of the (Other) Ghostbusters – The Conjuring 2 (2016)

British ghosts.  Continuing the narrative of our paranormal investigators, the Warrens (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) are about ready to take a break.  While they may be done with ghosts, it doesn’t seem that ghosts are done with them, and it isn’t long before the church is talking them into going across the Atlantic Ocean to jolly old England to look into a new haunting and a new family that is being terrorized by possession.  Now this is from director James Wan, who has two dueling horror franchises.  There is this and Insidious, and both do completely different types of horror.  I will tell you point blank: I will take either of the Conjuring films over any one of the Insidious movies any day of the week.

1There’s just more care and attention to detail in these movies.

Now there is a reason to my preference, and it revolves around one element and one element alone: jump scares.  That is what Insidious is all about, and that’s precisely why I never connected to it.  It is nearly impossibly to escape the genre without at least a venture or two in the jump scare, but there is never any reason to overload your movie with it.  While there are a few jump scares featured in The Conjuring 2, it is really more about chills, which I appreciate far more.  Now I really loved the first movie for what it is; it gave me everything that I was looking for in a horror film and was just a satisfying overall product.  While I didn’t care for this installment quite as much as its predecessor, there’s not really a steep drop in quality, and it is more of the same type of story.  It makes it very easy to recommend, especially if you walked out feeling positive about the first one.

2I would actually be excited if they announce that they were coming back to make this a trilogy.

Now one thing I will have to say is that you have to pace yourself with this movie.  It is almost a staple of horror to be in and out as quickly as possible, and you need not look any further than Lights Out to see what I’m talking about.  This is not that.  I don’t know if it is the period piece décor that makes them want to bolster this into being even longer, but this is 134 minutes long, which is practically unheard of in the genre outside of Kubrick.  I can’t say that I was ever bored; this always held my attention, but it does mean that you have to mentally prepare yourself.  The editing on this is great, and they manage to put this together in such a way that there are scares featured that I haven’t seen before.  I also like the fact that they don’t play up the angle that the ghost isn’t just tormenting one person, it is harassing any and everybody that enters this house.  If you liked the first movie, you should go and check this out as well.

The Conjuring 2 (2016) ***1/2

– Critic for Hire


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