Redux Reviews James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 | The Writers’ Room Podcast | Episode 308
James Wan returns to the horror genre with another chapter in his ongoing Ed and Lorraine Warren cinematic saga and it’s all about the love. Wan’s turned the duo into a pair of demon hunting superheroes who each use their powers in turn to overcome the evil that manifests from people in turmoil.
Watch below for our full review of The Conjuring 2!
Picking up the story six years after the first film, 2 begins with the paranormal investigators receiving attention for their work in the Amityville case, with Lorraine exhausted. Visions involving a demon dressed as a nun and a potentially violent death for Ed haunt her and she doesn’t want to take another case at the same time as one of the Warren’s biggest cases begins to unfold in Enfield, England.
In the small British town, Peggy Hodgson struggles to care for her four children alone after their father leaves them, and the situation worsens when middle daughter, Janet, is targeted by a demonic presence. Eleven year old Janet is teleported around the house, sees a ton of scary stuff, is bitten and thrown around and generally is put through the possession ringer. The Catholic Church asks Ed and Lorraine to investigate and then it’s Crooked Man versus Nun Demon until the bitter end.
Wan’s recent Fast and Furious installment feels wildly generic compared to the imaginative camerawork, meticulous sound design and score, careful casting, and emotional story – The Conjuring 2 is overflowing with personal touches from the director.
His connection to the material plays out most notably in the realistic performances he’s able to command from an ensemble of actors comprised mainly of children. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are back as the Warrens, holding to each other and their faith in the face of one really brassed off nun demon. Francis O’Connor as the mother of the family also lends gravitas to the danger facing her brood. Her character is the most crucial because she refuses to abandon her daughter or disbelieve her, even when confronted with proof the girl is faking.
We can’t discount the presence of the Gothic all over the place in the film. The English setting is used to perfection in the light design and mood – no sunlight appeared in the Enfield scenes, only when the Warrens were at home in America. The creaky, dark, looming house that’s home to not one but two unquiet spirits. And of course, through the emotional story of the characters. The original spirit, Bill, is sad, not evil. First, he died in the chair of sadness, then his spirit returned to the house in search of his family but found instead Nun Demon waiting to superimpose him. The chair was a prison for him in life and death.
Similarly, the children’s absent father is the real bad guy in the story. He abandoned his family for a new one, doesn’t even support them financially, does not accept responsibility for them and worst of all – he took their records from them. The message of Gothic works of art is that the evil acts people do to each other is way worse than any supernatural occurrence. The kids get over the Nun Demon, but do they ever reconcile a father who can so easily discard them?
Go get scared in the movie theater with The Conjuring 2 then let us know what you thought in the comments below! If you’re hungry for more Enfield activity, be sure to check out Warner Bros’ 360 VR experience below:
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