The Film (5/5)
I will come right out and admit that I missed out on watching 2013's The Conjuring and it's spinoff Annabelle. However, watching the sequel to the film which is one of the finest new horror films I have seen this year I am going to have to quickly correct that. I have for a good many years avoided most modern mainstream horror as it seems to either be treading ground already well covered by films I have seen many times before, or it simply doesn't seem interesting. Both Conjuring films I will admit simply passed my radar.
The Conjuring 2 deals with the story of the "Enfield Poltergiest". A series of haunting events and sometimes possessions that happen to a pre-teen girl name Janet and her family in London during the late 70's. The film opens with a seance at the Amityville house involving Ed and Lorraine Warren that frighten Lorraine to her core, and put the pair into semi-retirement, until word gets out of the Enfield situation, and the church wants to involve them to find out if the situation is real and requires actual assistance.
The Conjuring 2 plays in both the haunted house and exorcism sub-genres. It manages to do so with great effect creating one of the scariest chillers I have seen this decade. The film directed by Saw director James Wan and written by Wan with Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes, and David Leslie Johnson gets off to a strong start in the London sequences simply by doing away with belief in supernatural cliches by making sure all the main players from the Mother Peggy, to the neighbors, and even the police see the supernatural happenings in the home. This helps establish the actual parameters of the situation much faster, and get the pacing moving along at a much more interesting clip.
Much has been said how the real life Warrens were hucksters, and exploited the supernatural and peoples belief in it for their own gain. However, as cinema characters removed from their real life personas I found them quite likable and intensely positive which is a breath of fresh air in a genre known for dwelling in the darkest corners. The creature design for the ghost in the film was creepy though not uncommon for modern ghost horrors. The sound design for the film was incredible, and the overall look of 70's London was well achieved. Overall, the Conjuring 2 was a completely enjoyable fright-fest by Wan and probably my favorite film from the director and one I will certainly be revisiting in the future.
The Conjuring 2 is out on Blu-ray from Warner Brothers in a spectacular 2:40:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer. The Blu-ray looks absolutely spectacular with colors (though muted) being well reproduced here, detail being excellent, and black levels being inky and deep. The audio is presented a Dolby Atmos 5.1 track in English, and this track is superb. The dialogue and score are loud and clear, and the monstrous sounds that make up the ambient soundtrack are truly unsettling.
We get deleted scenes, a featurette on the background story of the film, and also a behind the scenes look at the making of the film.
The Conjuring 2 is an absolutely chilling and awesome horror trip from director James Wan. The Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic, and has some decent extras. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.