The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Hypothetical Netflix Rating: 3.4 out of 5 stars

James Wan’s follow up to his 2013 film, The Conjuring, (not that you couldn’t have guess what The Conjuring 2 was a follow up to), didn’t quite…conjure…the same magic. That’s not to say that there weren’t enjoyable and scary moments.

This time around, the Warren’s (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) travel to England to investigate a haunting in Enfield. There, a single mother (Frances O’Connor) and her four kids are being…well…haunted.

The story behind the haunting was engaging, and much like with the original film, you actually care about what happens to the people being affected by the poltergeist. The thing that sorta holds the movie back, however, is its similarity to its predecessor. It felt at times like it was just the same old bag of tricks being re-opened. The taunt scares just weren’t there like in the first one. What this movie did better was build up the ghost behind the haunting.

In the first movie, you find out over the course of the movie who the ghost is, way it’s haunting the house, blah blah blah. In this one, the hat is tipped sooner with a darker mystery working in the background. The inherit downside to “the darker mystery at work” is that it means there is going to be yet another spin off much in the way there was an Annabelle spin off (which, by the way, there’s another one of those train-wrecks coming down the pipe later this year). I guess my main beef with this movie was that did tried so hard to be like the original while still being open enough to have legs to run off into another movie.

Some parts hit the mark, others missed wide, others felt pandering. All in all, it was worth the watch, but you can tell that it won’t hold up on a second or third viewing like the original. There was a real artistry behind the first one, holding to the film ascetics of the 1960’s, the wonderful paces of the jump scares. There wasn’t really any of that here, which is sad because James Wan passed up a literal boat load of money to direct the next Fast and Furious movie to direct Conjuring 2. 

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