The Conjuring 2 (Blu-Ray)
James Wan’s sequel to The Conjuring lands on blu-ray this week, allowing you to bring the scares (and one creepy Nun) into your house. Based on the real investigation on the Enfield Haunting in the UK, Conjuring 2 manages to deliver a better story with fewer scares. Come inside to check out the full review!
Thanks to my horror-loving girlfriend, despite my inherent nature as a gigantic chicken, I tend to see quite a few scary movies these days. I’ve come to enjoy them slightly more than before, and I remember The Conjuring as being one of the better ones. James Wan scored a homerun with the first movie, prompting a new horror franchise. While we already had a spin-off, Annabelle, The Conjuring 2 brings us back to the adventures of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
I missed out on the sequel when it landed in theaters, but our review Aaron seemed to enjoy it. As such, I had to snag the blu-ray copy and see if the sequel could live up to the first film. Let’s talk about it.
The Conjuring 2 starts off with a brief look at Ed and Lorraine inside the Amityville house (the investigation which made them famous paranormal investigators). Since WB doesn’t have the rights to delve into the Amityville story, they skirt around it carefully and it’s used as a way to introduce audiences to the new demonic entity the couple will be facing down the rest of the film, while providing some early scares.
From there, we jump across the pond to Enfield, England, where we meet Janet (the youngest daughter) and her family. Things seems normal but quickly take a turn for the worse as Janet begins “sleepwalking” and speaking for an old man. Creepy things start happening, all kinds of stuff in the house moves about, and suddenly it’s a media sensation.
The Warrens are brought in because the Church over there doesn’t want to be embroiled in any potential hoax, and would like them to take a look first. I won’t ruin the rest of the film, but suffice it to say a BUNCH of crazy stuff happens and the Warrens have to come to the rescue.
The story is based off of the very real case of the Enfield Haunting, which remains one of the most documented case of paranormal activity in the world. The film, obviously, takes quite a few liberties presenting itself as the “behind the scenes” story of the investigation that was never told. While the Warrens did show up in Enfield to talk with local investigators, they’re involvement was less than portrayed in the film.
Even so, I really liked the approach they took with the story. While hitting all the historical, true events in the film, they also take the time to acknowledge the reasons is could have been a hoax. Though it reveals a ultimately supernatural reasoning for it all (what would be the point if they didn’t?), the fact that it was taken into consideration and part of the film really stuck out to me.
James Wan isn’t one to simply copy and paste his previous movies, as so many horror sequels have done in the past. He definitely makes an effort to change things up, and Conjuring 2 doesn’t feel like the same thing. The inclusion of a certain monster was unexpected and great in how it was utilized, and the story/characters most certainly take the forefront in the film.
In some ways, this is a part of what makes Conjuring 2 not work. There’s a lot of extra story in here, which I loved, but it seems to come at the expense of some scares. The film isn’t nearly as scary as the first movie...or any other horror film out on the market. While there are a few jumpscares that really come out of nowhere, and genuinely creepy moments, on the whole I never felt the same level of tension. Considering I’m a big chicken, that’s not a good thing, and my girlfriend found herself bored throughout. While I loved the added exposition and focus on the story/lore aspects, the lack of thrills and scares might turn aside some diehard horror movie fans.
Sight and Sound
The blu-ray transfer for The Conjuring 2 is solid, and the picture looks amazing. Being a horror movie, there are tons of dark scenes throughout the film. Thankfully, there’s no crushing going on with the blacks and they’re dark enough to give the scenes the eerie ambience the filmmakers want. There’s a couple scenes where a dark figure/shadow is moving around in the background of an already dark set. Even so, the image was clear enough that you’re still able to make out the shadow against the darkness, adding to the overall feel of the movie.
Sound plays a significant role in any horror film, so you’ll be happy to note that the surround sound works wonderfully. The haunting whispers, subtle movements throughout house, meant to inspire fear come through excellently, putting you right in the center of all the creepiness. Better yet, none of the soundtrack or effects overpower the dialog (which can get quite low).
The Special Features
The Conjuring 2 blu-ray comes with the following bonuses on the disc:
The Enfield Poltergeist: Living The Horror
The Conjuring 2: Hollywood’s Haunted Stage
Crafting The Conjuring 2
Sounds of Scary
The bonus features are fairly hefty considering it’s a horror movie sequel, and does a decent job of delving into the true story behind the Enfield Haunting, as well as showing how they recreated certain moments in the film. The Sounds of Scary featurette has a neat look behind the scenes of crafting scary movie sounds, showing off some things you likely hadn’t thought of before.
Considering how much emphasis the Nun/demon got in the marketing (it’s even get a spin-off as well), I’m kinda surprised there wasn’t more information on how that creature came to be in the film. If you poke around online, you’ll find some neat information on the “real” demon it’s based off, and how Lorraine Warren herself influenced James Wan’s design decision. It would have been neat to see more of that included in the features, but on the whole it’s a good offering of bonuses for fans!
If you’re into non-stop thrills and scares, you may want to give this a rental. On the other hand, if you have an interest in paranormal stories and history I highly recommend picking it up. It’s not a direct sequel fans were likely expecting, but manages to tell a solid story.