Spooky set­ting lifts solid hor­ror se­quel

South Waikato News - - Out & About - STEVE NEWALL

As with its 2013 pre­de­ces­sor, The Con­jur­ing 2 serves up a hodge­podge of hor­ror as the pro­ce­dural para­nor­mal work of Ed and Lor­raine War­ren (Patrick Wil­son and Vera Farmiga) in­ter­sects with un­ex­plained house­hold phe­nom­ena.

This time, it’s set in dreary late 1970s Bri­tain – in other words, some­where damn near hell al­ready.

The leap across the pond sees the se­quel get­ting more mileage out of the rainy, pe­riod set­ting than the first film’s lo­ca­tion. In go­ing back 40-odd years, both tech­nol­ogy and skep­ti­cism aren’t as ad­vanced – this isn’t long af­ter The Ex­or­cist shocked a gen­er­a­tion – and the im­pov­er­ished English set­ting ramps up the dis­con­nect from our mod­ern seen-it-all cyn­i­cism.

Di­rec­tor James Wan’s Aus­tralian back­ground likely came in handy for get­ting this UK tone right. I can’t think of any other Hol­ly­wood film in which try­ing to watch The Good­ies is made dif­fi­cult by a med­dle­some en­tity.

When fo­cus­ing on tra­di­tional vin­tage hor­ror tropes, The Con­jur­ing 2 con­vinces. But as Wan runs the stylis­tic gamut from 70s to the present day, in­clud­ing a scary nun in­debted to both Mar­i­lyn Man­son and Matthew Di­rec­tor: James Wan Star­ring: Patrick Wil­son, Vera Farmiga 134 mins Bar­ney, and a rather pre­pos­ter­ous Cgi-era gi­ant ap­pari­tion, it fal­ters. Jump scares may abound, but the most suc­cess­fully tense mo­ments are un­sur­pris­ingly the sim­plest, and most ba­nal.

The War­rens are also a bit of a weak link for much of the film. In re­count­ing their in­volve­ment with the Ami­tyville (care­ful, lower-case) hor­ror, and see­ing their room of spooky sou­venirs from prior out­ings, the duo’s pres­ence of­ten plays like a 70s TV show. It’s more than a lit­tle corny, a shame since their re­li­gious con­vic­tion is cru­cial to the film.

Con­tem­po­rary au­di­ences need as much help buy­ing into that be­lief, and the over­all re­al­ism, as pos­si­ble – faith-based mo­ti­va­tions are likely some­what com­i­cal to some of this film’s in­tended au­di­ence.

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wil­son’s Lor­raine and Ed War­ren face up to an­other spooky, su­per­nat­u­ral ad­ven­ture in The Con­jur­ing 2.

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