By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

Though not quite as frightening as the first Conjuring film (or Insidious 2 for that matter), The Conjuring 2 is still a respectable sequel that delivers entertainment in other ways.  This installment may be labeled as a supernatural horror film; however, I feel that the movie works better as a suspense-thriller.  I found myself sitting tensely in my seat rather than cowering in fright.  I’m sure that director James Wan was aiming at both reactions, but his film doesn’t quite deliver the same level of scares that the first installment does.  Still, he does succeed in delivering intense thrills, heartening moments, and even some laughs.  The Conjuring 2 may not be Wan’s scariest movie, but it is certainly one that entertains on multiple levels.

After completing their work in Rhode Island, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) take on their most famous case in Amityville.  Lorraine’s traumatic experience with that haunting makes her reconsider her and her husband’s vocation. She obviously needs some time off and pleads with her husband for a hiatus from their paranormal investigative work.  Unfortunately, their break doesn’t last too long after a humble family in London, England gets victimized by a hostile spirit.  Unwilling to turn down people in need,  Ed convinces Lorraine to travel with him to London, but some frightening precognitive visions by Lorraine worry her that more may be at stake if they follow through with the investigation.

Written by Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, James Wan and David Leslie Johnson, The Conjuring 2 makes for a compelling and thrilling second installment in the series.  Wan manages to elicit some good startles periodically, but the psychological scares are in short supply.  Still, I found the overall film quite enthralling and entertaining.  Wan and his co-writers make a solid sympathetic case for the victimized family.  With the Warrens already established as fascinating and lovable characters, their part of the story only adds to their likabilty and thus, increases the audience’s involvement with them.

It certainly helps that Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga now own these roles.  Their sweet, natural charisma make these already interesting characters people anyone would love to have as close friends.  Because the conflict gets more personal with the Warrens in this film, the actors get to show a more dynamic range with the characters, expressing their much more vulnerable sides.  There is much more to their lives than being paranormal badasses and this film’s development of the characters presents this well.  The film also stars young actress Madison Wolfe as Janet Hodgson the girl who is the main target of the malicious spirit tormenting her family.  Wolfe is a tremendously gifted actress for someone so young, and she is great in this role.  Frances O’Connor portrays the Hodgson matriarch Peggy and delivers a lovely performance.  The movie also features solid work by Lauren Esposito, Benjamin Haigh, Maria Doyle Kennedy, and a really fun turn by Simon McBurney.

Now that James Wan has proven himself as a talented and capable director with his last four films, including the most recent installment of the Fast and Furious franchise, Wan will make his entry into the DC cinematic universe with his Aquaman movie. I look forward to that, but do hope that somehow, someway he can manage to make another Conjuring film.  Now that I have enjoyed the second chapter of the series, I have grown even more fond of these characters and hope to see them in at least one more exciting adventure.

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