HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Conjuring 2
HTS Overall Score:87
“The Conjuring” was one of the surprise horror hits of 2013. I am a self-proclaimed skeptic when it comes to paranormal horror films, but James Wan crafted a horror flick that was both visceral and completely terrifying in a genre that hasn’t been fresh since the days of “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Exorcist”. I remember jumping out of my chair a half dozen times in the theaters back during 2013, and was greatly pleased to see that James Wan was coming back with original writers, Carey and Chad Hayes, to create the sequel to their box office hit. Strangely enough, “The Conjuring 2” feels a little “off” in terms of feel, and almost could be mistaken for having a different director as the film feels more comic bookish, and the plot a little more cliché. That’s not to say it is a bad horror flick, as it is leagues better than the spinoff “Annabelle” and still makes for some fun times. It just sadly isn’t able to live up to the hype of the original.
Based off of the “true” story of the Enfield haunting, “The Conjuring 2” revolves around another case of Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren in their paranormal research back in the late 70s and early 80s. One of the most researched cases outside of the Amityville horror ones, the Enfield haunting has been the tale of lore and murmurings for many decades. At the behest of the Catholic Church (unofficially) the Warrens are called in to investigate a supposed haunting in Enfield, England. There they find a young blue collar single family where the daughter has been experiencing hauntings and mysterious encounters with the spirit of an old man (who we find out is named Bill later on in the movie). It seems he is terrorizing the poor family and the Warrens have been sent in to find out if the haunting is real.
While it seems obvious to the audience that the haunting is real, the Warrens are a little more suspicious of the scenario, as hoaxes are not uncommon in their line of work. Lorraine strangely enough can’t really get an emotional feel for the spirit, which is strange considering that is her gift, but the evidence seems to corroborate the family’s statements. However little by little the Warrens realize that not everything is as it seems. Little clues start pointing towards the whole thing being a hoax, and little clues point towards an even darker secret as the film unfolds. A secret that may hold the key to past hauntings and disturbing visions that Lorraine has been experiencing lately.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=79338[/img]2013’s “The Conjuring” was one of those rare instances where I was really taken aback by the horror genre. The paranormal horror genre is just one of those little genres where I’m not easily scared or disturbed. Most of the time the scares are generated by “boo!” moments where the audience can see them coming. Somehow James Wan’s entry into that genre was effective and completely enthralling, meaning I was more than eager to check out the sequel. Especially considering the fact that the original director and writers were back. “The Conjuring 2” is a slightly different feel than the predecessor, and garners an almost comical feel to the film. The settings are completely different, in two differing countries, but James Wan seems to have tried to blend in a little more humor this time around. Bill’s haunting of the Enfield residence draws a chuckle more times than it doesn’t, and there are some bizarrely odd additions to the series (such as the crooked man scene) that don’t act as terrifying as one would expect. It’s the end 30 minutes where the true villain reveals itself that the movie actually gets scary and creepy again. Most people had figured out who the real villain is, but the reveal is still disturbing and quite effective.
One thing that James Wan does very right in his movies is tension building. Throughout the long film, Wan slowly eases up the tension bit by bit, just adding a little more to the plot until finally you’re sitting at the edge of your seat in anticipation of the final demonic battle between the Warrens and the malevolent spirit. Sometimes I feel Wan stuffed a bit too much into this latter entry, but overall it was a creepy little horror movie that is head and shoulders above others in the same genre (and definitely better than the spinoff, “Annabelle”, despite the fact that it made bank off of a meager budget).
Rated R for Sequences of Disturbing Violence and Terror
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=79346[/img]The film’s color palette and foggy look don’t make for sharp and eye catching colors, but it is very accurate and clean with a digital presentation that makes one stand up and take notice. Unlike the aggressive yellow tint of “The Conjuring”, “The Conjuring 2” takes a decidedly cool look with the very popular teal color grading and grey overtones. There are some brighter primaries, but everything looks decidedly dusky and grey, with a foggy look that is still rather sharp and detail filled if you look for it. Facial details are quite excellent, and the individual fibers of the old and nasty couch in the home looks pleasing to the eye. Blacks are deep and inky, despite the murky look to the film, and show off plenty of shadow detail to go around. It’s a nice looking image, and I really couldn’t detect any major artifacting besides a few moments of banding (typical in a dark film like this), but nothing that would detract from the experience unless you’re retentive.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=79354[/img]“The Conjuring 2” is another in a long list of films that are coming out in the object oriented audio formats, and marks another notch in the belt of the Atmos lineup. I’ve become a big fan of films with an Atmos or DTS:X track not just because of the added channels, but because these tracks seem to have been treated with kid gloves during the mixing process, as the studios appear to be putting their best foot forward with the growing format. Much like the DTS-HD MA track on “The Conjuring”, the Atmos track on the sequel is simply SUPERB. Dialog is crisp and clear, even with the thick English accents and the cacophony of slamming doors and whispering spirits. Surrounds are used extensively, shifting noises from one direction to the next and making for some REALLY impressive use of the heights as the spirits make little noises, and the clinking and creaking of the old English house. LFE is simply punishing, with deep DEEEEEP waves of bass that pound the listener from beginning to end. That final scene between the demon and Lorraine make for one that will make your pant legs start flapping and your walls groaning in protest as a result. I've been very pleased with the amount of blockbusters with top tier audio the last few weeks, and Warner's release of "The Conjuring 2" is another one to add to the "must listen to" pile.
• The Enfield Poltergeist: Living The Horror
• The Conjuring 2: Hollywood’s Haunted Stage
• Creating Crooked
• Crafting The Conjuring 2
• Sounds of Scary
• Deleted Scenes
“The Conjuring 2” is a fun sequel to the 2013 film, but sadly is not AS good, despite the return of all original creative staff. Still, it is a fun little romp that is creepily entertaining and brings more than a few chuckles for horror fans to revel in. Ed and Lorraine Warren have an impressive history of case work to dig from (whether or not you BELIEVE their real life exploits) and leaves the door open for several more films to come if the proper cast and crew are allowed to work their magic. The disc itself is top notch, and gives us stellar video and stunning audio along with a better set of extras than the first movie had. My only complaint with the package as a whole is just a little nitpick from a collector’s point of view. The lack of the combo pack ability as well as a film that really should have been in 4K. Still, definitely worth a watch if you’re a fan of the first “The Conjuring”.
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe
Directed by: James Wan
Written by: Chad and Carey Hayes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1, English DD 2.0
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 134 Minutes
Own The Conjuring 2 on Blu-ray or DVD on September 13 or Own It Early on Digital HD on August 30!
Buy The Conjuring 2 Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Good Watch
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