The Conjuring 2 (2016)

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Perhaps the most impressive possession horror to come out in recent years, buckle up

The Very Best

8.3

Movie

United States of America
English
Horror, Thriller
2016
JAMES WAN
Abhi Sinha, Annie Young, Benjamin Haigh
134 min

What it's about

In the aftermath of the Amityville case and the subsequent media craze, Edward and Lorraine Warren are called up to England to investigate another potential demonic possession.

The take

After the successful run of the first instalment, The Conjuring 2 brings back lead couple Ed and Lorraine Warren for yet another real life-based case of demonic possession. This time, it's the Enfield poltergeist, a case which gained popularity in the London Borough of Enfield between 1977 and 1979, and while the Warrens in the film show reluctance to take on a new job amongst growing skepticism, we're so glad they did so in the end. The franchise's second chapter is perfectly built: a good amount of character establishment, a fair bit of rekindling allegiance with the Warrens, and a lot of ingenious scaries. What makes The Conjuring 2 a pitch-perfect horror of its kind is precisely this multivalence, combining empathetic characters and well-crafted, yet extremely disturbing visuals. When the supposedly simple case becomes a fight between good and proper evil, the film shifts gear to an obscenely dark, vengeful mode. You can't tell from its beginning, but the second Conjuring is even more proficient, deeply troubling, and most of all, bold in the way it renders the possession horror genre a canonical must.

What stands out

Academy Award nominee Don Burgess (Forrest Gump) was tasked with lensing the sequel to the massively successful first instalment of a franchise and his work carries the blueprint of mastery. He uses pans and zooms to the fullest to create a new, eerier topography out of the modest Hodgson home. The way the camera traces corners and walls enlivens the space, but not in a way that would make you want to inhabit it; on the contrary, such attention to spatial discontinuities could only enforce the feeling of dread one feels peeling off the wallpaper. A haunted house is as terrifying as its empty spaces, and The Conjuring 2 know which scenes to protract and which to cut short, to secure a perfectly framed jump-scare and a lingering fear of the camera's movement. 

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