HOLLYWOOD—I was debating back and forth all week, on what ghost flick I wanted to discuss just in time for the perfect Halloween scare. I was debating against the original “House on Haunted Hill,” “The Ring” and “The Exorcist.” It was a very close race because while I like “The Exorcist,” for me the film doesn’t deliver the scares that leave me unnerved. Is it haunting? Yes, but I go back to a movie that is quite current and dare I say, a sequel that is actually better than the original.
I’m referring to “The Conjuring 2.” I absolutely adored this movie; I mean it left me unnerved in the best possible way. If you saw the movie in theaters when it was released it was tension galore and if you watch the flick now on TV in a dark room you still get those same chills. This time around paranormal investigators Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) are reunited to investigate a haunting that is taking place in London.
If you’ve ever seen “The Exorcist” you can see the similarities in this movie. A young girl is possessed by some evil entity. The haunts and scares start off minor, but with each instance they heighten more and more until they reach a point where it’s scary as hell to watch. Madison Wolfe is absolute perfection in the role of Janet Hodgson. You sense the fear, the emotion and the wrath of a little girl fighting for her life. The things Janet does and endures would send anyone in a tailspin, and if you’re a parent it would leave you an emotional wreck. Making the situation bone-chilling is the notion that it is inspired by actual events! That is always a way to easily suture the audience or enhance the terror element.
What sells “The Conjuring 2” so much is that it has a cleverly wicked opening sequence paying homage to “The Amityville Horror” before transitioning to our core characters. While a lengthy movie, there are no lackluster gaps. The pacing works to perfection and the filmmakers find a way to keep the audience entertained from start to finish. You are engaged as our protagonists try to unleash a demon from haunting the Hodgson family.
However, there is a bit of a twist because who appears to be the villain is not really the villain, it is the demon Valek who delivers the haunts. She is relentless, vile and takes no prisoners in inflicting absolute terror on the audience. We get glimpses of her treachery in small moments throughout the movie, but the pure horror is not unleashed until the phenomenal climax that is a thrill-a-second.
The question I get asked all the time is rather you need to watch “The Conjuring” before watching “The Conjuring 2,” the answer is no. The sequel is almost a standalone film, and just brings back our core characters of Lorraine and Ed; you don’t need its predecessor to understand their roles in this installment. If you want a good scare that doesn’t rely on a psycho in a mask, look no further than “The Conjuring 2” it will deliver the scares that you are expecting and ones that you didn’t expect.