War­ren Blighty

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re­leased 17 OC­TO­BER (BLU-RAY/DVD)/OUT NOW! (down­load) 2016 | 15 | BLU-RAY/DVD/DOWN­LOAD

Di­rec­tor James Wan Cast Pa­trick Wil­son, Vera Farmiga, Madi­son Wolfe, Frances O’Con­nor

The main strength of this se­quel to James Wan’s hor­ror hit about para­nor­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tors Ed and Lor­raine War­ren is that it’s set in a rainy, grey ’70s Bri­tain – al­beit an al­ter­nate-uni­verse one where semi-de­tached houses are un­usu­ally roomy and The Good­ies airs in the af­ter­noon... Just the fact that the usual poltergeist/ pos­ses­sion tropes play out in a mi­lieu where peo­ple with Cock­ney ac­cents say “Wanker!” is re­fresh­ing.

It re­vis­its events in En­field in 1977, which saw 11-year-old Janet Hodg­son speak­ing in the voice of an old man called Bill. The UK’s best-doc­u­mented such case, it’s per­haps a lit­tle too well-known – es­pe­cially to any­one who saw Sky Liv­ing’s 2015 minis­eries The En­field Haunt­ing.

To their credit, Wan and his co-writ­ers freshen things up, adding el­e­ments like a paint­ing of a de­monic nun, and pro­vid­ing a suit­ably dra­matic fi­nale for a sit­u­a­tion which in re­al­ity pe­tered out. They also take steps to flesh out the War­rens’ re­la­tion­ship.

But if any­thing they layer on too much. A pa­tience-test­ing 62 min­utes pass be­fore the War­rens even ar­rive in Lon­don. And while a pipecleaner-limbed en­tity from a Zoetrope – the Crooked Man – is shud­der­some, it feels like it be­longs in a dif­fer­ent, more fan­tas­ti­cal fran­chise.

Ex­tras The DVD has just four deleted scenes (six min­utes): nowt es­sen­tial, though they do use­fully ex­plain why the Hodg­son kids are never at school and help fore­shadow a twist. The Blu-ray adds five more bonuses (42 min­utes). High­lights: a fea­turette on the Crooked Man – as­ton­ish­ingly not CGI, but a very skinny bloke – and a piece on the real-life case; this in­ter­views the grown-up Hodg­son girls, and cap­tures an on-set reunion with Lor­raine War­ren. Plus: a gen­eral Mak­ing Of, a bit on the score, and some cob­blers about the sound stage be­ing haunted. Ian Berri­man

The Good­ies ep seen on TV at one point is “Earthana­sia”. James Wan saw the show as a kid in Aus­tralia, and is a big fan.

Ev­ery meal­time the food got worse.

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