Cine Reviews: ‘The Conjuring 2’ (2016)

The Conjuring 2 is directed by James Wan and is the sequel to 2013’s surprise hit. The film stars Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Simon Delaney and Franka Potente among many others.


The Conjuring 2 is a deeply satisfying improvement over the first, with the scares and plot being pushed through the roof to deliver an enjoyably horrifying cinematic experience that harnesses such a strong and feisty horror movie sequel. That way, it dispels the errors of its predecessor by doing  a lot of things better the second time around as they fulfill their needs to step their game up a little bit higher than ever before. As they do those, we get more of the frightening sequences that we crave for; most of which are very well orchestrated for having proper timing and build-up that predictably yet successfully jumps at us with their skillful makings. Almost all of the scares are terrifically executed, and it makes this sequel pop in various ways for having James Wan’s distinctively terrific signatures that makes our imaginations run wild. For one, the storyline is made easy to feed in spite of feeling familiar,  with the introduction to the family instantly forming a connection to its audience as it subtly elaborates these characters’ backgrounds, allowing us to feel a little more emotions for them as we get a taste of the weight of their position in life from the heavier tone and the intensified nature that they lean onto.


A lot goes around in it, but what makes you really care about those could be seen in its characters who carry themes covered in a certain amount of surprising depth, all of which pulls up the film’s capacity to become as endearing as it is terrifying. Perhaps James Wan’s real magic to make The Conjuring 2 a really hard-hitting sequel could be found in the plot itself, as it strengthens virtually everything of what rendered its predecessor as clichéd yet unflinching. The main storyline involving the Hodgsons is made a whole lot more interesting and close to real life, and what makes them so easy to get along with in terms of connecting ourselves to them relates to the film emphasizing on their character background-deeming itself as somewhat profound. Thanks to that, we get to find out what lies beneath all the frights; a tale of a family trying to stay together-a subject matter that broadens its range. Shockingly, this sequel manages to punch and break our hearts by making the story of this family look already haunting and emotionally distressing with or without the antics of horror. They are used as a means to make us sincerely care about everything that goes on, and it serves a great purpose by adding substantial weight to it as a whole, somehow providing solidity and power to this story based on true events.


They are made so not only because of how they are in face value, but also because some effective drama is produced right there that is given reason by great character development. Characters are far more memorable with the Janet Hodgson kid really taking the cake here, just as the rest managed to get us invested in their spooky tale of supernatural wonders. Whenever this kid evoked a sense of fear, it was so easy to buy because her terrified looks and expressions really makes us feel like we’re a part of it all. Madison Wolfe who plays her was never too ridiculous if one were to speak of how diabolical and terrorized she felt and looked. Her possessed look are beautiful nods to The Exorcist , and it gives her character a little extra in her looking all scary, something that makes its climax stand out for almost completely making us reminisce about that horror classic in its own spectacular way of homaging it. If you were to find out what this movie would end up being like minus all the horror, is that deep within James Wan’s creations of terror is a family drama, and one that is strongly portrayed too. We are given so much more about Ed and Lorraine Warren as well, and it did everything but drag the film down as the themes that surrounded them built a layer of depth to its seemingly simplistic storyline.  As odd as that sounds for a mainstream horror feature, it is all rather true for the performances of the cast and the depictions of their characters testified to all that, furthermore elevating The Conjuring 2’s status as mesmerizing and surprisingly great for modern horror cinema.


James Wan once again employs his best techniques, and that resulted into a handful of jolting moments that would let you experience difficulties in getting them out of your head for days and nights. A distinct vibe like in the first film gets generated, and it lets the whole cinematic experience make you feel like you’re a part of it all as it cuts through its emotional heft and intriguing storyline to get you immersed like never before in a James Wan feature. This is made so apparent that it significantly becomes the source of its improved quality as a sequel for carrying every single important element and shooting them up higher in order to end up as a consistently astounding horror flick. Practical effects and CGI is blended together, and what becomes of it are freakish scenarios that feed off of one’s fear. Shadows lurk in the dark, and loud noises are made, but to justify their case as jump scares, they get accompanied by scary images that prompt sudden attacks to the viewers’ senses. One stand out sequence prolongs these reigns of terror onscreen, and the feeling that you get from it could be likened to getting yourself held up against the door and feeling both mystified and helpless as it gets all up in your face with the scares that it bags in its hands.


However, since they are indeed still reliant on the atmosphere of which they build upon, they could easily be seen coming from a mile away. But then again, they prove themselves to be effective and useful in advancing the plot to the state of where it should rightfully end up being in without experiencing some filmic impediments. It puts us once again in the dark and it gives us a fear that sticks to us from the demonic creations that pounces on us in every step that we take. Though some of the scares went for a more stylish route as opposed to the practical one, which took away some of what had been just given by the latter, they are brought back once again as you figure out their relevance to the story, which gets revealed in the film’s final minutes. There are indeed so many elements that ramped up the scare factor, but perhaps the one that should take all of the praise is the house’s design. James Wan definitely made this house once again his playground of horror, and he really put its use to the fullest by transporting us to it in every incident that occurred onscreen, tapping ourselves to the characters involved, putting us in their place and making us feel terribly fearful. Everything that was created in it to get us spooked was incredible, down from the props to the very design of the house. The film’s heavy usage of practical effects in and of itself created a certain realism to it, and the cinematography perfectly complemented that by making the sequences of scariness look sharp enough to graze you with every look that you give to it.


Trust us, once you get past through this one, you’ll instantly forget about its predecessor. It is such a great apology to the first’s appreciable efforts and most specially, Wan’s sequel to Insidious that was everything but good. The sequel even proclaims that it is so by immersing you in just an instant by clouding you up in its dark energy. The Conjuring 2 is one of the best horror films in recent years as it packs some savory, horror-filled delights that wakes up even the deepest of your fears, something you’d have never expected from a horror sequel.



* The Conjuring 2 will be opening in Philippine cinemas nationwide tomorrow, June 9 from Warner Bros. Pictures. Rated R-13 by the MTRCB.



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