So I just saw the second Conjuring movie, and despite the fact that I have yet to see the first one, I thought it was absolutely fantastic. I heard the first one was great and a few friends that have seen The Conjuring 2 before me said it was also great, so I found it difficult to keep my expectations at the median where I always put every movie I see. And despite my relatively high expectations, I still really enjoyed this film.
The movie does an absolutely fantastic job at building tension. There are so many moments that either kept me on the edge of my seat or put me in a state of discomfort. This film worked on its scary and creepy moments instead of cashing in on every jump scare it could throw in (ahem, ahem, The Darkness).
Not only that, but I found every character to be interesting, relatable, and realistic. At the forefront of all of these characters are Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. I enjoyed getting to know both Lorraine and Ed as they go through their lives and jobs as exorcists supported by the church.
What was even more impressive is that about half of the characters were children. It was fantastic to see children in a movie that did not detract from the experience. True, most of the kids play minor roles and are not focused on very much, but the one girl they did focus on throughout the entire movie played her role very well.
Now the more I watch horror movies, the more I am starting to think that it is impossible to make a horror movie without adding multiple cliches, and The Conjuring 2 is no exception to this. However, nearly every single cliche was forgivable because it served a valuable purpose other than to scare the audience.
Here’s an example. So one of the biggest pet-peeve horror cliches in the entire world for me is when something terrible happens and it later turns out to be just a dream. When it happened in The Forest (multiple times), its sole purpose was to scare the audience. When it happened in The Darkness, its sole purpose was to scare the audience. When it happened in The Boy (which I liked, by the way), its sole purpose was to scare the audience. However, when Lorraine has a dream in the movie, not only was there purpose for it in the very moment of the film, but additional purpose was found later within the sequence of events. Sure, it’s still a cliche found in nearly every horror movie I see these days, but when there’s purpose and thought put into the execution of the cliche, then I do not see the point in getting worked up about it. Sure, there are a few horror cliches here and there that do not carry the same thoughtfulness and purpose, but I’m glad that the majority of them do.
And speaking of movie pet-peeves, this movie ACTUALLY was able to have a sing-along bit involving children that was not a cringe-festival. I cannot think of another movie where this was the case.
But the reason that they were able to make something that’s usually terrible work is that they took the time and effort into making all of these characters worthwhile to care about. It didn’t seem like these characters were solely created to bite it (which is the primary complaint I had about The Witch).
It was also refreshing to see some religious characters with some freaking dignity. I cannot tell you how great it is to see a movie where the religious characters are neither idiots nor bigots. No, this does not have any effect on the rating whatsoever, I just thought it was nice to note because so few movies seem to do this anymore.
Also, the sequence they made for the ending credits was absolutely lovely.
This is easily my favorite horror movie of this year so far. I’m sure there will be at least two or three more horror movies before the year is over, but The Conjuring 2 has definitely raised a very high bar for whatever comes next. If you have not seen the first one and think that’s a reason not to see it, I did not see the first one either, and I still loved this movie. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find out how to get my hands on the first one, and I’m giving this movie an 8 out of 10.