Hello and Hallo-welcome to another edition of Sequel Sunday, where we look at the next chapters of horror stories. You join your bloggers, Andy and Lilly, who found one person who believed in them, so they married them.
Today’s Film Offering: The Conjuring 2
Lilly: In The Conjuring 2, we join Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal adventurers, as they are brought into the story of the Enfield Haunting, a ‘real’ case of a series of events in Enfield, London, that terrorized a family, specifically a young girl named Janet. Maybe they can solve this one, even if in reality, Ed and Lorraine were barely present during the Enfield happenings, but whatever, Ed, grab your guitar and charm the ghosts away!
Andy: The real case is actually kinda interesting, as the two guys on the scene still maintain there was something going on, but everyone else thinks it was hogwash. Also fun diversion: We tried ghost hunting here at Hallowfest precisely once. We downloaded an app to pick up voices.
…After the first two it picked up were “BLOOD HERE” and “NO PRIEST” it stopped being fun and we turned it off.
Lilly: Yeeep. Anyway. in what was a media circus of the time, this film touches on the very real possibility that young Janet is what is behind all the events happening in the Hodgson home, but merrily tosses aside the possibility pretty early on by bringing all the kids into the ghostly mix, with some pretty blatant otherwordly goings-on decidedly placing the Enfield Haunting heavily into the realm of the supernatural. Grey area? Unless you’re talking about the greying flesh of the undead, there is no grey here!
Andy: Having said that, though, the movie does go to some lengths to ground the movie in the real world. Belief in the supernatural and fictionalisation of the story aside, this feels like it could have happened. It doesn’t feel fantastical.
Lilly: The Warrens, who, after only one film, seem to be ‘too old for this shit’ and looking to retire from the cases due to Lorraine’s visions of Ed’s death (a good reason to pack it in), are called in by the church to check in overseas and see if they ought to get involved. The church reasons that they cannot help people if their street cred is bad, which is legit, so the Warrens go to Enfield to try and help not only their church friends, but the family, because damn it, that’s what Warrens do!
The Conjuring 2 is a good follow up to its predecessor, rolling out new monsters (a demon nun AND a crooked man!) with the same charm of the first film, mainly resting on the shoulders of the two leads, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. The Warren’s are pure #relationshipgoals, from my favourite scene featuring Ed painting to them separately telling Janet how damn happy they are to have found each other. It’s odd, but in a world of horror films featuring sexy teens having sex and hot female survivors hooking up with hot male survivors, it’s nice to see a couple who clearly sits and crochets together as much as saves the day, all while having major love and admiration for each other. I believed it when Ed said he trusted Lorraine, and not just because the film said they were husband and wife so they ought to. Someone put the effort into making sure that, even with them being over the top at time (Elvis serenades, I’m dying), Ed and Lorraine were real.
Andy: Fun activity – notice every time Ed demonstrates proficiency at a skill. Between this movie and its predecessor, he’s a painter, plumber, guitarist and singer, and mechanic, in addition to an accomplished demonologist, medium and agent for the Vatican. He’s like a superhero.
Lilly: As far as the story went, it all depends on what you were looking for. When I heard it was going to be about the Enfield Haunting, I was pretty damned intrigued, but if I went in expecting it to be the story of, well, anything real I’d have been a bit confused–and if you are feeling like you wanted that, why not check out the 2015 miniseries, The Enfield Haunting, a really well done adaptation of the story that was a bit more grounded in reality–but as a general rule, horror claiming to be ‘based on a true story’ is going to be two streets over, one street down, and well around the corner from anything nearing the truth of the situation it is based on, and we all know that.
Andy: If anything, this’ll make you want to look at the real case, so I count it as a win. I like this movie. It’s a good entryway into these sorts of movies, what with Super-Ed making us all feel safe and it’s all nicely shot. The only criticism I have of it is that it’s a little long. We have the wrap-up of the previous movie’s cliffhanger, Life At Home with the Warrens, the haunting before they get there, the haunting AFTER they get there, and several more twists and turns after that. It’s … ponderous, and about 45 minutes longer than most movies we review.
Lilly: Which, if that was 45 minutes of Ed doing random hobbies of his, from, I don’t know, shoeing horses to flying a two seater plane and hand sewing hot air balloons, I’d be down for it, but it does seem like the story of Ed and Lorraine winding down in their paranormal shenanigans was mushed into the story of Enfield pretty awkwardly. I’d rather a third film of them retiring and doing one last gig, but this started with that to then turn into ‘or IS IT’ and I’m not really sure I liked the weird turn in tone. Cutting the film down for time might have helped avoid that.
That said, The Conjuring 2 gets a big thumbs up from me. If I’m honest, I’d watch those Warren kids get up to anything, so my bias definitely shows, but even if you forgot them (how!), this is a solid ghostly mystery of a family being menaced, and we’re on board. There are some neat transition shots, some awesome makeup effects, and whoever styled Patrick Wilson and all his dad sweaters, well, I salute you. Plus, you know it is an enjoyable film to have Andy still like it even though it uses The Clash’s London Calling when showing London–it’s a pet peeve of his which often leads to long rages, and this time, it was allowed!
Of course, we’d love to hear from you, readers! What did you think? Did you enjoy the second Warren Family Fun Adventure, or was the first enough for you? What is your favourite thing Ed Warren gets up to? Have you checked out the Annabelle spin-offs, or will you check out the spin-off the nun of this film is reportedly getting? Let us know, on Twitter, in the comments, or on Facebook!