The brilliantly terrifying The Conjuring is the second highest-grossing horror movie of all time (the first being The Exorcist). This film was genuinely the best horror film I had seen in a long time. From my point of view, James Wan is the best director working in horror today, which is why I was really excited to see this second installment. This movie makes a perfect follow-up to the original Conjuring's lesser-known case. Did I mention the movie starts off at the Amityville House? Yes, THAT Amityville.
Here, the Enfield Case is probably one of the best documented, most studied and most contested hauntings in existence and in British history. The real recordings of paranormal investigator Ed Warren interviewing the entity through Janet exist at the end of The Conjuring 2 and it's difficult not to have chills run down your spine. Nonetheless, director James Wan offers fans a helping of reinsurance to go along with the fear.
If there are ghosts and demons out there, then God must be out there as well.
James Wan, who directed Saw and Insidious, is a horror filmmaker of such skill that even when he makes a by-the-book haunted-house story, it's easy to feel a hint of admiration for his talent beneath your tingling spine.
Lorraine And Ed Warren Characters
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as a couple really ground the film in realism, as their backstory and relationship are really touching and heartfelt. The Conjuring 2 is so much more than just a horror movie, it's about marriage and being with somebody that understands you. The realistic family story grounds the film and makes it better than your average horror film.
A Frightening Art
Horror lives in the unknown. It hides in abandoned asylums, in catacombs, in cabins and haunted manors. These are safe places to die. You don't want to die? In that case I wouldn't touch an Ouija Board — stay home and watch Netflix instead. Nothing can find you there. Except James Wan. Wan is a modern horror maestro who brings the fear right to your front door.
All these events take place in the real world, occupied by everyday people trying to get on with their lives. We've all been children hiding under the duvet from whatever hid under our bed in the dark. Even now, home alone on a rainy day, we've sat on our couch and wondered what creaked the floorboards in the seemingly empty room next to us. Wan's fear construction is effortless, his best moments lie in the silence between scares.
He also has a sense for the audience; their rhythm and pulse, of how to manipulate a moment so that he's practically controlling your breathing. He became a master of THE face. He must have a card in his office reading: "All you need to make a hit horror film is one truly awful face!" THAT face. The face that's staring through the window. Staring through the dark. The face that's coming to get you eventually.
James Wan once again proves with this film that he knows how to use a jump scare. Those are meant to get you. This man knows how to build up tension until it feels insurmountable. He's also a wizard of timing, and he toys with us by time and time again throwing unsettling images at us, such as a toy firetruck that starts to move on its own. Then, letting that pass, the movie will simply pause, stopping dead in its tracks. It's right there, in that silent moment, that our anxiety starts to rush in. Finally, it's truly the craft, performances and the writing that make this film a billion years ahead of all films of its kind out right now. This film is really good; it's scary, suspenseful, the tension is real and a lot of that is due to a brilliant cinematography.
Overall, James Wan knows his craft. And all he has to do to bring you true horror is take you home, where you think you're safe from harm. Sweet, sweet dreams.