James Wan returns to his horror roots after helming the blockbuster Fast and Furious 7 with The Conjuring 2. Wan, who began his career with the genre defining SAW has become one of the preeminent modern "masters of horror" but, does The Conjuring 2 live up to his past frights? Absolutely.
The Film picks up after the "true events" of the first film with a young girl in the UK suffering from an unknown anomaly. The assumption is that the girl is "possessed" so, the local priest calls for the help of renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return) to aid and assist the family. The actual real story of what happened is, of course heavily dramatized and the true or false nature of the story is debatable but, let's approach this for what it is, a horror film meant to entertain and scare the audience. Put on your suspension of disbelief hat at the door to fully enjoy the film, don't dissect if it happened or not.
The first film was a surprise box office hit largely due to the couple, Ed and Lorraine. People quickly became fascinated by the real life husband and wife team of ghost busters who did it before it was cool. With their collection of "possessed items" collected from years of investigations the film rekindled the public's fascination for "haunted house" films. The sequel continues that same theme that almost feels like a remake of it's predecessor. The same formula is reused here family in trouble, reluctant Lorraine follows determined Ed to aid troubled family, the couple bond with the family and the climax. Usually this wouldn't work but, Wan and crew were able to make it feel fresh. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga turn in another fantastic performance with great chemistry and a cool vibe as the Warrens.
Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe) is the girl at the epicenter of the paranormal activity. She speaks in tongues and is changing rapidly as the Warrens arrive. As in the first film, Lorraine senses the evil presence in the house and calls it "The gate to hell". As if that didn't hook you the "evil presence" is a ghostly nun. The one major fault of the film is the nun is never explained or fleshed out, only a trapped spirit of an elderly man in the home is explained. Whether that was intentional or not is debatable as the nun origin story spin off was recently announced, just like Annabelle the doll in the first film who got her own spin off, The Conjuring 2 will get IT'S own spin off as well.