The Conjuring 2 is not as goosebump-inducing as the first film but it is a worthy successor.

Conjuring 2 review A riveting sequel that still gives you the creepsFacebook
Features Movie Review Friday, June 10, 2016 - 18:38

For an atheist, I harbour a rather strange fascination for horror flicks. I love suspending my painful rationality for a few hours and becoming part of a world where there is no logic and no science and only the power of God can save me from hellfire. In these few hours, I don’t ask questions like why the church can investigate demonic activity but not the kind of priests we saw in Spotlight. I willingly give up my disbelief and surrender…but it takes a solid, convincing movie to get me there or I end up making faces in my seat and spooking out the people next to me.

The true test of a horror movie lies in how successfully it helps you build bladder control. For a week after I watched The Conjuring, no power on earth could persuade me to leave the safety of my bed at night. I enjoyed that delicious, child-like fear and couldn’t wait to re-live it with the sequel. Anabelle, the prequel that came out in 2014, was meh though it had a scary moment or two. Thankfully, The Conjuring 2 does not disappoint.

We’re back once again with the Warrens, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga), as they investigate yet another haunted house, this time in Britain. Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor), a single mother of four children - Margaret, Janet, Johnny, and Billy - is struggling to make ends meet after her ex-husband does a disappearing act and stops sending her any maintenance money. She is stuck with the daunting task of paying bills and looking after her family and just when she thinks it can’t get any worse…it does.

The horror movie genre, funnily, is one where we see motherhood represented as close to reality as it gets. The mothers who appear in horror flicks are often tired, struggling women with bad tempers. They love their children fiercely but are not above shouting at them or tearing their own hair out in frustration. As a young mother, I remember watching Jennifer Kent’s highly disturbing psychological horror film, The Babadook, and weeping buckets in the cinema hall. Peggy’s frustration at the leaking tap, the washing machine that won’t work, the children who incessantly talk over her – it’s all relatable and builds the atmosphere for what’s to come.

The Conjuring 2 follows pretty much the same template of the first film. Strange, unexplained happenings at night, children who leave their beds when they shouldn’t, a narrow staircase, creepy toys, loud banging, mirrors, levitation, possession, cameras – it’s all there. It’s nothing we’ve not seen before but it works.

The narrative doesn’t waste any time in introducing the jumps but the scenes are not rushed. For instance, there’s one scene where Billy (Benjamin Haigh), the youngest of the four children, wakes up at night to drink some water. When he walks back to his bed, he trips over a toy fire truck and sets off its alarm. Billy switches it off and pushes it towards his tent and nothing happens. For quite a while. And then…I won’t tell you but it’s worth the wait.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga continue to impress as the Warrens, sharing a crackling chemistry that makes you root for them throughout the film and persuading you to take that vital leap of faith. Much of the film rests on Madison Wolfe, who plays a terrified and terrorizing Janet Hodgson, pulling it off and she does a convincing job of it. The background score is just what it should be - it doesn’t give away what’s to come but succeeds in building suspense and discomfort.

The Conjuring 2 is not as goosebump-inducing as the first film but it is a worthy successor. I, for one, will be working on my bladder control tonight.

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