Friday, October 28, 2016

31 Days of Halloween 2016 - Day 28

The Conjuring 2
James Wan

Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson), are hot off documenting the Amityville haunting. They are beset by critics and fatigued by the whole thing. Lorraine has a vision of Ed dying violently, and she wants to stop investigating the paranormal all together. A year later in London, a small family begins to experience serious ghostly trouble. The Warrens travel to London to investigate. There is a specter that is laying claim to the house. With each passing moment, Lorraine realizes her vision of Ed’s death is drawing closer. The actual haunting is not as it seems, and the Warrens struggle to keep the family together even though it may cost Ed his life.

Two caveats: I don’t like the real life Warrens, they were hucksters of the worst sort, and I didn’t like The Conjuring (2013), it had plenty of atmosphere, but blew it on all on a by-the-numbers climax. That said, The Conjuring 2 is fantastic. It’s beautifully filmed, filled with dread and scares, and actually manages to make what appears to be a typical haunted house plot, fresh again. There is a sentimentality to the film that threatens to become overbearing, but fortunately the story knows exactly when to pull back and return to the scares.  There is some obvious franchise building here, but it never gets in the way of the main story. Modern big studio horror films that aren’t limp PG-13 snoozes are a rarity, and one that is almost a masterpiece is nearly unheard of.

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