Ghostbusting takes a turn for the twisted
“THE CONJURING 2” takes its time to deliver its thrills and chills, but that doesn’t make it any less creepy or unnerving—with a lot of help from leads Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga’s formidable acting chops.
Six years after the Amityville haunting on Rhode Island in 1971, the paranormal-tracking, husband-and-wife tandem of Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Farmiga) are whisked off to Enfield, England, for a three-day ghostbusting junket.
They’re tasked to investigate the creepy occurrences in the Hodgson household—and the increasingly disgruntled entity that uses 11-year-old Janet (Madison Wolfe) as its pawn to sow seeds of demonic mischief.
After years of putting her family at risk, Lorraine is wary of another mano-a-mano against creatures that go bump in the night. Her reluctance is understandable: She’s been seeing visions of unfathomable violence involving her husband—and she doesn’t have a lot of time to figure out what they mean, or how to stop them!
Just the same, Ed wants the stubborn creature exorcised out of the Hodgsons’ home—before it’s too late!
While the film is occasionally weighed down by its compromised focus, it nonetheless benefits from director James Wan’s inventive use of lights, sounds and shadows that heighten and sustain the production’s sense of unease and eerie dread.
By spending more time to tackle the protagonists’ back stories, viewers feel like they know the Hodgsons and Warrens better—and we get more emotionally invested in their safety and well-being.
Wan would have had a difficult time making sense of the Warrens’ perpetual dilemma—to help the needy, or conveniently choose to look the other way—if not for the “relatable” portrayals of Wilson and Farmiga, who spiritually “saddle up” as their characters’ ghostbusting adventures take a turn for the twisted.
As a welcome breather, the movie finds a clever excuse to let the vocally exceptional Wilson sing an Elvis Presley classic—a temporary calm before a terrifying storm hits the Hodgson household again!
This time around, the demonic presence they battle is angrier and smarter, and even takes a creepy, “blasphemous” form to attack Lorraine’s conscience. —After all, as Ed later uncovers, it has had 40 years of practice!