The Conjuring 2

Directed By: James Wan

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O'Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney, Franka Potente, Benjamin Haigh, and Maria Doyle Kennedy

We all could use a good scare right about now.  After taking a break from the genre with the action spectacle Furious 7 last year, James Wan is back with the follow-up to his 2013 hit The Conjuring. As fate would have it, I've found one of the rare horror movies of 2016 I don't loathe.  I'm not putting The Conjuring 2 on the level of The Witch or 10 Cloverfield Lane.  I'm not crazy.  Still, it is nice to have a good old school supernatural flick that crackles with devilish horror.  This is exactly what Wan delivers as he takes his second foray into the lives of Ed and Lorraine Warren.  

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson & Vera Farmiga) have just recently tackled their most famous case in Amityville.  Given that she's haunted by the demon from Amityville and fears that their next case will be Ed's last one, Lorraine thinks they should take a break from their work and reject cases going forward.  Ed doesn't share those sentiments.  When they hear from the church of Peggy Hodgson's (Frances O'Connor) plight in London, he convinces Lorraine to take the case.  Peggy and her children — Janet, Margaret, Johnny, and Billy (Madison Wolfe, Lauren Esposito, Patrick McAuley & Benjamin Haigh) — are haunted by the ghost of Bill Wilkins (Bob Adrian), who died at the age of 72 in their house sitting in the chair in the corner of the family room.  While investigator Maurice Gross (Simon McBurney) believes the Hodgson family is truly being haunted by the ghost of Wilkins, academic Anita Gregory (Franka Potente) sees it as nothing more than a hoax.  Before throwing their weight behind it, the Church wants Ed and Lorraine to confirm that Bill Wilkins is indeed the crooked man haunting the Hodgsons.

Serving up a second dose of old school frights in The Conjuring 2, James Wan really pays attention to the details here to create this supernatural period piece.  You can see it in the grayish, grainy cinematography that drips from the screen.  You can hear it in the jolting whispers of the creepy old house in which Peggy Hodgson and her children somehow manage to live.  You can feel it in the suspense Wan builds every time the night falls and darkness takes hold of the house.  Yes, The Conjuring 2 scares up plenty of frights that will satiate horror aficionados' appetites of all ages.  My one issue with the movie is that it drags.  Clocking in with a runtime of two hours and fourteen minutes, the movie is extraordinarily long by horror movie standards.  Moreover, it's safe to say that The Conjuring 2 is entertaining but bloated.

With both old and new faces alike, the ensemble of The Conjuring 2 really rises to the occasion.  Reprising their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga remind us that they are formidable forces on the big screen.  Having been busy with Fargo and Bates Motel on the small screen respectively, Wilson and Farmiga make a loving couple truly passionate about helping others through their wilderness.  With Wilson doing the grunt work on the ground and Farmiga giving us one powerful spiritual warrior, they make The Conjuring 2 something more than a sequel just to be a sequel.  For her part as mom Peggy Hodgson, France's O'Connor gives us a troubled woman who wants nothing more than to help her children, especially Madison Wolfe's Janet, through the spiritual wilderness.  She also manages to infuse her character with a bit of humor.  Finally, Bob Adrian serves up plenty of frights as the creepy Bill Wilkins.  He does some terrific voice work spooking the children.

The Conjuring 2
is good, but it's long.  James Wan's second foray into what I presume is a budding horror franchise gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Have a few glasses of Zinfandel with this one.