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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 16, 2016

The Conjuring 2 Movie Review: The Sequel Is A Test Of Patience And Is More About The Love Story Of Paranormal Investigators Ed And Lorraine Warren

WHAT WE realized after watching “The Conjuring 2” is that Director James Wan obviously wants to turn it into a franchise, not as a horror series but as the enduring love story with a touch of the supernatural between Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as the husband and wife team of paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren. There’s a huge market for horror flicks and “The Conjuring 2” is now the number one movie both locally and in the U.S.

“Conjuring 2” has a pre-title credits prologue showing the couple in their encounter in the Amityville Horror House in 1976. It was very well staged and Lorraine is so frightened she asked Ed to retire. But the following year, it’s time for them to investigate another ghostly encounter, the Enfield Poltergeist that reportedly scared Britain in the late 70s. Just like in “Conjuring 1”, the events are based on a true story encountered by the real life Warrens.

This time, they travel to London, where a single mother. Peggy (Frances O’Connor) and her four kids are terrorized by a malevolent presence in their haunted rowhouse. Lorraine is so cautious because she saw a premonition of Ed’s death, leading to some very touching moments involving the couple, making them more credibly empathetic and real as they face danger together.

The child who is possessed by the intrusive visitor is the preteen daughter, Janet (Madison Wolfe, who’s so very good). She starts with sleepwalking then levitates and speaks in someone else’s creepy voice. Wan succeeds in eliciting screams from the audience with the film’s usual quota of jump scares and boo moments assisted by the jarring musical score and shocking loud sounds. There are also some scary tricks, like a toy fire truck that seems to operate on its own, a tent with a scary guest, a magic lantern that frightens the children, plus a lot of furniture being moved and tossed around to menace the whole family, the neighbors, the cops and all those who’d care to help them.

The Warrens, who are very passionate and committed to their cause, are asked by the Church to investigate what’s happening. Ed gets to talk to the restless spirit named Bill Wilkins who says he won’t leave because “this is my house!” (This is actually a ludicrous and not a scary sequence). But there’s a twist as it turns out that this apparition is just being used by an even more devilish presence garbed in a nun’s habit, leading to a violent and tour de force climax.

James Wan is acknowledged as one of the most competent horror directors today (he also directs a “Fast and Furious” movie and the coming “Aquaman”), what with his success in another horror whodunit franchise, “Saw”, that started in 2004. “Conjuring 2” is done with much style, with dim and dark colors and pretty fancy camera movements. But the movie runs for more than two hours and you’d really wish they’d quicken the pacing as some sequences are repetitive and can test your patience.

It’s good both Patrick and Vera are excellent and show lots of gravitas in portraying their respective roles. Patrick is getting to be a horror movie actor, what with his involvement in another scary franchise, “Insidious”. As for Vera, she’s great but we love her more as Norma Bates in the TV spin off of “Psycho”, “Bates Motel”, with Freddie Highmore as her wacko son, Norman. This early, we’re predicting there will be another sequel so brace yourselves for “Conjuring 3”.