I have a love/hate relationship with horror. Mostly it’s love – I can’t get enough of it – but I struggle to watch a horror film without having to peer through my fingers. There’s something about scaring yourself half to death that is just so much fun.
I saw the first of The Conjuring films in the cinema when it was released and I absolutely loved it. It was terrifying and hilarious all at once and I vividly remember the scene where the old witch is suddenly on top of the wardrobe due to me shrieking ‘WHAT?!’ at the top of my voice in a packed screening. What was she doing up there?! Like I said, terrifying and hilarious.
The Conjuring refreshed a slightly stagnant horror genre where recent films were just no longer cutting it. Paranormal Activity was only truly scary the first time around, and installments like Ouija and the Insidious films just weren’t freaky enough. So, when I heard there was going to be another of The Conjuring films, I was extremely excited. I dragged a reluctant Mark to the cinema with me a week or so ago, ready to be terrified, and I wasn’t disappointed.
For starters, look at that thing. Just look at it. It really creeps me out. The team behind The Conjuring films really know what they’re doing when it comes to horror. One thing they’re especially good at is camera angles. Ever since I studied Media at A-Level, I’ve been a bit obsessed with camera angles, and The Conjuring team are excellent at them. They make you look in dark corners just in case, and they keep the things that go bump in the night just out of shot to ramp up the tension. They also know when is the best time to reveal what the antagonists – whether it be ghost, demon or witch – look like.
As with The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2 is packed full of twists and dread. The twists in this installment aren’t obvious which is great, because that’s quite often how horror films suddenly lose the scare factor. However, whilst the twists were unique, I found the major twist killed the horror a little bit for me. I still liked it, but there was something about it that just didn’t work; I think it could have been handled a little better. This is a spoiler-free review so I don’t want to go into too much detail, but it just didn’t sit quite right with me; it was almost too convenient.
That being said, the film is still very scary. Not quite as scary as the first, though, as I think one of the antagonists, The Crooked Man, didn’t fit. I still watched a vast majority of the film through my fingers, however, and The Conjuring 2 retained that sense of impending dread that made the first film so creepy.
I also enjoyed the fact that it was set in England. I think horror films set in the UK are always just a little bit creepier than ones set in the US, one reason being because the UK still has so many period houses that I think make a better setting for a horror. Ghosts haunting a Tudor house are a lot scarier than ghosts haunting a semi-detached new-build in the suburbs because its just so much more believable, and also provides a much wider scope for horror – all manner of horrible things could have happened in a Tudor house over the centuries.
The setting of The Conjuring 2 is a relatively modern house, in contrast, but this isn’t your average haunting (as you’ll discover). It sounds like I am completely contradicting myself here, but still a British setting is always just a tad creepier for me, period house or not. Perhaps it’s because it just feels closer to home than an American horror.
I also thought Madison Wolfe as Janet Hodgson was excellent, although her North London accent was a bit off every now and then (she’s American). However, I felt the climax of the film was slightly rushed. The evil plaguing the Hodgson family was defeated surprisingly easily and I would have preferred more time between the major twist and the ending. There was a sprinkling of cheesiness in the film that killed the mood a little but, that being said, it was still an excellent horror film and I did enjoy it.
So, if you were a fan of the first film, the second won’t disappoint. Of course, you may like the twist more than I did, but I think that was what let it down a little in comparison with the first film. It just didn’t pack enough of a punch and, like I said, was a little too convenient. Hopefully, the spin-off of The Nun will make up for it. Although I don’t know how I feel about seeing that creepy nun again…
Have you seen The Conjuring 2? Did you enjoy it? Was it scary enough for you? What did you think of the twist? Let me know in the comments below!