Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, Bonnie Aarons, Bob Adrian
Director: James Wan
The modern world is helping us forget what it feels like to be scared. Our city spaces have stopped manifesting themselves with mythologies and horror stories. Horror is more about the individual within the corridors, moving swiftly in the darkness of the night and lurking around corners, for some reason we have stopped believing in spirits and demons and Satan, they have become glamorous characters in popular daily soaps.
In such a situation, a horror movie that has the ability to shake you from inside is a refresher. When you return home and start noticing the creaking cupboards, the dripping tap that just wouldn’t stop, and the doors that keep banging due to wind, that’s when you can confirm that the movie has successfully planted the seed of terror in you.
Such is The Conjuring 2, with its legacy from the previous episode and the demon that travels across the oceans to England to haunt another family. In this episode, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and his wife (Vera Farmiga), the paranormal investigators, are threatened of their lives, and they must overcome their own fears to be able to rise up and see what is not obvious and face the demon in a battle that might very well wipe them off. It is an interesting case of terror travelling places.
Janet Hodgeson (Madison Wolfe), the 11-year-old who is the target of the demon is a lovely unsuspecting girl, who is missing her father. Her ingenuity is worth looking at in the film, while her mother Peggy (Frances O’Connor) does not seem to be at grips with what she is doing. In some moments, it does feel like a dreadful sequel, but it quickly manages to overcome and again starts making you feel uncomfortable. A suggestion however is to find a seat which would not be surrounded by cheering people, as they really don’t know how to enjoy a good horror movie.
Director James Wan has held the ropes tightly and has not hurried to reach the end. The first half of the movie is just about establishing the case, which is incredible as it allows you to settle down, check your cell phones and finish that really important piece of chatter before gently placing the horror in you. The second half is mostly about the investigation and about trying to get rid of the demon.
The most interesting bit however is the turntable toy that helps the little brother recover from his stuttering by singing along to the rhyme There was a crooked man. The rhyme seems to grow in you, and you cannot resist singing it, and soon enough you are filled with terror of the crooked man standing in front of you. The rhyme has its own mythology, something that is indeed worth looking up to. I am trying to stop humming it, but it starts again and again in my head.
Not many movies make you want to stay for the credits, but this one sure has nice credits, where they reveal some real pictures from the actual haunting and investigation on which the movie is based. It also plays the original sound recording made at that time. The brief recording insists that it is not just a horror movie that you saw, but it is indeed something that is present in the world around us, beneath the bed that we so comfortably sleep on, behind the cupboard ready to jump out, sneaking up behind you all the time, waiting for an opportunity to possess you, speak to you, levitate you and teleport you.
The writer is founder, Lightcube Film Society