“The Conjuring 2”

Throughout “The Conjuring 2,” I screeched, squeaked, gasped, and jumped. I also admired writer/director James Wan depicting paranormal investigating as a fairly romantic activity.

“The Conjuring 2” begins in Amnityville, with Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) uncovering the horrifying truth behind the infamous murders. They then retire briefly, only to come out of retirement when a single mother named Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor) discovers her family in London is terrorized by an unseen entity.

I just watched “The Conjuring” for the first time last week in preparation for the sequel, and was pleasantly surprised with Wan’s tribute to haunted house films. “The Conjuring 2” is a familiar-but-confident sequel with a surprising amount of heart. Though, at 134 minutes long, it can use a bit more editing.

The run-time is the film’s biggest weakness because the creepy knocks waking up the kids, the false alarms, and the ghosts popping out of the shadows grow redundant. That being said, there are still some great scary moments in which “The Conjuring 2” holds its own.

The opening five minutes in Amnityville is spookier and more terrifying than any of the “Amnityville Horror” films, we have a demonic nun stalking Lorraine throughout the film, and we see the most menacing possessed child since Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” (1973). James Wan knows horror films, and kudos to his panache.

One disappointing aspect is while the first “Conjuring” was less reliant on loud jump scares, “The Conjuring 2” is more reliant, making it come off occasionally cheap. I can forgive it, due to the scarier moments and its performances.

Wilson and Farmiga are once again terrific as the Warrens, and they’re the heart and soul of the film. We learn why Ed and Lorraine love each other and why they’re hesitant to continue their profession. They also have some sweet moments involving Elvis’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

“The Conjuring 2” maintains the same style as its predecessor with the trick shots, focus on the Warrens and their bond with the families in need, and its introduction case being connected to the main case. I still recommend it to horror buffs and I know I’ll be having a double feature come Halloween time.

Grade: B+

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Film lover based in Portland whose goal is to let you know what to see and what not to see.

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