Friday, June 10, 2016
The Conjuring 2 Review
I never wrote a review of The Conjuring. This is because I didn't actually see it until recently. Don't know what my holdup was. I just never got around to it for some reason. With all the movies that come out every year, that sometimes happens. Overall I thought The Conjuring was a very well crafted horror movie. I'm really sick of all the horror movies that rely heavily on jump scares, blood, gore, sex, nudity, and language to be effective. Part of the problem with horror movies these days is that those elements are the primary focus when studios make these movies. Elements like plot, screenplay, and acting are practically thrown out the window. The Conjuring is a movie that actually focused on the latter first, which is what all horror movies should do. In fact, the blood and gore was very limited, and there was no sex, nudity, or language used all. There were jump scares, but all of them served a good purpose to the plot, which was the main focus. This is something that I really appreciated about the movie. Director James Wan did a great job of building honest tension that made it so I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and I also loved the story about this haunting that was supposedly going on at that house for the last hundred or so years.
The Conjuring 2 has the same problems, but amplified. Both movies focus on two real-life paranormal investigators named Ed and Lorraine Warren that investigated tons of cases. To the credit of both movies, they do an excellent job of following the Warrens' account to a t. But that account is the issue. With the first movie, the current owner of the house went through detail by detail of every character brought up and proved how horribly fake the whole story is. Granted, it's a game of he said, she said, but when you listen to the account of the current owner and then listen to Lorraine Warren and/or Andrea Perron, it's really obvious as to whose account is more legit. I'll give a you clue. It's not the Warrens' account. Before I saw The Conjuring 2, I researched the heck out of the case this is based off of, which is one of the more publicized paranormal stories in history, and the huge consensus is that the two young girls in the family set the whole thing up and did a dang good job of tricking everyone. The only people that believe them are the people like the Warrens who will believe any and every paranormal case they investigate. Perhaps I shouldn't have done this research and just tried to go enjoy the movie, but I have this weird thing where if a movie tries to shove down my throat that it's a true story, then I like holding them to that. If the whole thing ends up being bogus, I take issue because I feel I was lied to.
The funny thing with The Conjuring 2 is that a huge portion of the movie actually focused on the skepticism towards this case. The first movie didn't do that at all. Everyone in the movie just bought into the ghost story and the focus was on learning about the ghost and figuring out how to stop it. I think I actually preferred the first movie's methods because the skepticism story arc actually bothered me. First off, all the skeptics in the movie were portrayed as idiots. Second, every time a skeptic argument was brought up, the movie debunked it. Now if they wanted to go with the ambiguous route and present two objective sides to the story and let the audience decide what happened, that would be cool. That wasn't the goal here. Instead the goal was to shove it down your throats for nearly the whole 134 minute run time that they were telling a true story and no aspect of their movie was false and thus their movie is super scary because it could happen to everyone. No. I was throwing the b.s. flag the entire time and because the movie tried so hard to convince me to believe it, I almost felt like I was arguing with the movie the whole time. It was like one of those situations where your crazy old uncle is telling you a story that he claims is true, but you know is false and you impatiently sit there waiting for him to be done. Yeah, that was this movie.
Two-thirds of the way through, I was thinking that I was actually going to write a negative review for this movie, which made me sad because it is better than most horror movies. But I just wasn't buying it. It wasn't that scary and they were spending too much time trying to shove the "based on a true story" aspect down my throat. But then there came a point where the movie turned around. I'm not going to spoil anything, but I will just say that this turning point came when certain characters were on a train. From that point on, the movie was phenomenal and I was wishing that the first two-thirds of the movie would've followed that because this would've made for a great movie. I will admit that there was no point in this ending that was as jaw-dropping as the exorcism scene in the first movie, but it was still good. And I do have to say that the acting throughout the movie was excellent. My favorite person in the movie was Vera Farmiga. I think she's a phenomenal actress. Sure, I may be biased because she does play Norma Bates in Bates Motel, which is one of my current favorite TV shows. But oh well. She was still good. Also great was the young girl who was possessed for much of the movie. Her name is Madison Wolfe and I'll be looking out for her from now on. I love myself a great child actor. They're hard to come by.
Overall, The Conjuring 2 was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I will give it huge props because most horror sequels are pure garbage, which is why I initially put it on the list of movies I was worried about heading into this year. But it turned out to be better than most horror movies in general and one of the best horror sequels. If you're one who is easily pleased with all these horror movies that come out, you should quickly run out to see The Conjuring 2 because you'll love it. If you loved The Conjuring and you aren't bothered by a movie that spends its entire run time lying to you about it being a true story, then you should also run out to see this because you will love this. But personally that was my hangup. Any movie that spends this much time trying to prove that its a true story, in my opinion better be the truest story ever told. But it's not. The whole thing is pretty bogus and that made me mad. But like I said, if it was a well-crafted horror movie, I would give it a pass. But that aspect of it was a mixed bag and this I am giving it a mixed review. I was more bored than scared for the first two-thirds of the movie and the evil spirit haunting the house was pretty dull. But the ending, while not as good as the first, was pretty fantastic and completely saved the movie. Thus my grade for The Conjuring 2 is a 7/10.