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When Respect is Due

The Conjuring 2 Review

Even the complaints from the comic above are unfair. This sequel to the fantastic horror flick The Conjuring is exactly what you want from a sequel; the DNA of the first film genetically enhanced in such a way that you see seamless evidence of the original monster amidst a whole-new guise. Now, The Conjuring 2 had a significant advantage, as it is pulling from true stories around its centerpiece couple of paranormal investigators. It makes for an easily-read strand of DNA. But at the same time, the film never merely rides the coattails of the first and makes its own story and scares in fresh and exciting ways that leaves you equal parts appreciative of its connections to the first and reveling in its advancements on the craft.

This is usually when I dish up a caveat to my above conclusions, but we walked away so satisfied and entertained by this sequel that it feels blasphemous to speak ill of it. As is usually the case, film's with this much success will eventually have its haters, and I'm sure some of them will have legitimate points. But even as a critic, or perhaps especially so, it should be encouraged to give a movie a standing ovation every once in a while.

I haven't enjoyed a horror film this much since The Hallow. Both are very well-rounded, delivering top-notch scares with great writing, acting and directing throughout. Exactly what you look for in a grade-A horror film; fear with substance.

Perhaps the greatest compliment that can be paid to this film is my hope that it will inspire a generation of genre filmmakers that will properly redirect mainstream horror to not simply ride the coattails of previously successful franchises from the 80's, or take generic concepts that are as predictable as their respective trailers make them out to be. But rather try something new, put work into the writing, be smart (and not just perverse) with your casting choices, and pay respect to the genre you love rather than exploit it for easy money. And not only this soapbox, but as I slowly step down, this film is a great role model for how to do a sequel. Take notes, directors who are far more talented than I!

The final reveal of the film's mystery during the climax of the film is by no means mind-boggling. In fact, you are likely to realize the answer (or more accurately where the answer came from) before the character does (or should have). And it makes for an unnecessary and perhaps slightly cheap extra thrill to add to the final moments. However, the culmination of the film's many branches so poetically conforming into the final scene does make this complaint incredibly and erroneously nitpicky. And while I feel boring and lazy to avoid any critique at all of the film, I am admittedly grasping at straws for a film that is by pretty much all accounts the textbook on how to do mainstream horror.

Horror Qualifier: 8/10

Horror Quality: 9/10

Film Quality: 8/10

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