October 4, 2022

The Conjuring 2 shows James Wan’s growth as a director; it’s more ambitious and experimental than the last movie, resulting in a much stronger work. There are just a lot of really cool, inventive shots that are going to stick with me. The first Conjuring movie was solid, but the technique on display here is just more impressive. Some of that comes from a budget that is twice as large as last time, although still not a lot by Hollywood standards. This isn’t all about building and maintaining tension through hints and misdirection; there’s some stuff here.

Impressively better than the original.

The Conjuring 2 shows James Wan’s growth as a director; it’s more ambitious and experimental than the last movie, resulting in a much stronger work. There are just a lot of really cool, inventive shots that are going to stick with me. The first Conjuring movie was solid, but the technique on display here is just more impressive. Some of that comes from a budget that is twice as large as last time, although still not a lot by Hollywood standards. This isn’t all about building and maintaining tension through hints and misdirection; there’s some stuff here.

We also have a much better supporting cast than last time. I care way more about the family being hounded this time around, and that also makes a big difference. The Conjuring was about a mother being possessed and trying to kill her children, but this time one of the kids is possessed and as a result she, and her siblings get much more of a focus and more development. Madison Wolfe plays the possessed girl and carries a substantial part of the movie.

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return as as Lorraine and Ed Warren and they’re still great. I just really like getting to see stories about happily married characters in fiction, mostly because it’s such a rarity. It just provides a much more efficient path to strong emotional and romantic moments, without having to be dicked around with false drama bullshit.

There’s a good kind of mystery element to the way this movie plays out. It’s not based around whether or not there is something supernatural happening (although there is some of that). It’s much more about what exactly is happening, why, and how to prove it. Everything is out on the table, but putting it all together takes a little doing.

The Conjuring is a solid possession horror movie. It doesn’t break new ground or anything but it has strong leads and the execution is excellent. This is a horror movie that’s not afraid to be a little sweet and sappy, that can be funny when it wants to be, but never loses sight of the horror it’s built around.

This is the best horror movie of the year so far and it’s easy to recommend.