One of my Christmas presents from my boyfriend this year was The Conjuring 2 on DVD. Having been unable to see the film when it came out in the cinema, I was very excited to get it on DVD, and I watched it on Boxing Day night (because it’s such a lovely festive, feel good film…) and was full of anticipation, particularly as the first Conjuring film is my all time favourite horror film.
I’m writing this review after having only watched it the one time, and as sometimes happens with new films, my views may change the next time I see it. From my first viewing though, I hate to say that I was slightly disappointed by this latest offering from James Wan.
Whilst the premise of the story was a good one, and from reading on many occasions about the history of the Enfield haunting, which is a truly fascinating one, it had the potential to be a great film that would send shivers down the spines of horror fans alike, which at times it did. The experiences witnessed by the Hodgson family are terrifying, and certainly left me wanting to sleep with the lights on that night. The appearance of the demon nun was also a horrifying twist, one that certainly left its mark on me, and left me wondering if every shadow I saw out of the corner of my eye was that of the hauntingly grotesque nun figure.
This is where my issues lie with The Conjuring 2. Whilst the demon nun was a good addition to the film as a side plot to the main storyline, which is what the audience is initially led to believe, my mind was blown and completely baffled as to why this was written as a plot twist that goes hand in hand with the perils of what young Janet Hodgson has to go through during the films run. For me, I found the idea of an old man who had died suddenly and alone in his long term family home, who was bitter towards the new occupants of his former abode, and decided to latch onto Janet in order to create pure havoc a far more interesting and frightening story than his spirit having been almost kidnapped by the nun.
As soon as this twist is revealed to the audience, I hate to say that my interest diminished. Yes it may have been in the final moments before the credits rolled, but I certainly had no desire to find out what happened after the nun had been successfully excorcised by Lorraine Warren. It was all in all a disappointing end to what had otherwise been an enjoyable film to watch. The fact that the end felt so rushed, almost as if the producers and director suddenly realised the film had gone on for too long and had to be wrapped up quickly, also bothered me a lot, and looking back at earlier parts of the film, there was a lot that could have been cut out that would have given the production team more room to play with the ending.
As with The Conjuring, and many other of James Wan’s films for that matter, the overall atmosphere was electric and captured the emotions of the characters perfectly. The mise-en-scene was equally as brilliant; the mood was set really well by the lighting and surroundings, setting the tone for the audience before a character had even uttered a word. The actors all did a sterling job in their roles, and were so convincing that at times I forgot I was watching a dramatisation.
Overall, I would award The Conjuring 2 a solid 6.5/10. I would definitely watch it again, and although largely entertaining and left me hiding behind my pillow a number of times, the plot twist and hurry to wrap up the story left me a little bit disappointed after the pure perfection of the films predecessor.