Fright Night: The Conjuring 2 brings an unexpected, perfect sequel
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A demonic, deafening voice roars down the hallway as a young boy runs towards his family in the living room, terrified of something that used to bring him a childish joy. A poetic, horrifying rhyme begins:
“There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile. The crooked man stepped forth and rang the crooked bell, and thus his crooked soul spiraled into a crooked Hell…”
The voice gets louder as it gets closer, the deep screaming reverberating through the bones of a five-child family and their neighbors, all waiting for the inevitable. As the cry edges the hall and rounds the corner, the deep, otherworldly tongue hails out of, not a monster, but a twelve-year-old girl, a child and daughter.
“Murdered his crooked family, and laughed a crooked laugh…”
She screams bloody murder that rips the metal door of the fireplace off its hinges, then collapses in a fit of seizures.
This scene, though not entirely significant to the plot, portrays every great aspect of the renowned sequel The Conjuring 2. Its sing-song, creepy take on a children’s rhyme, its bellowing voice that shakes the room, and the cinematic way of filming that doesn’t make it cheesy. But the real perfection comes from the twelve-year-old’s petrifying stroll into view, the shock of the howling sound, the reality of her screams, the way she transitions from possessed child to a frail faint, her seizing that makes you worry for her health- it’s all there. Every ounce of effort was squeezed into this scene, which is why it is my absolute favorite.
The rest of the movie is just as exceptional.
Judgmental of horror movies to my very core, it’s difficult for me to find ones that I enjoy every time I watch them. Even popular ones that give everyone nightmares don’t rank in my top twenty. So I was quite shocked when, despite being widely liked, I found it ridiculously good.
It’s also a sequel, which gives it infinitely more ways to be awful than if it were a stand-alone, The Conjuring 2 is the first horror movie that has made me change my opinion on sequels.
The young girl, Janet Hodgson, played by Madison Wolfe, who is the center of the movie, is an extraordinary actress. Not just in my favorite scene, but all throughout the film. Her expressions, the way she holds herself as any possessed twelve-year-old would, it never ceases to amaze me. Her helpers, Ed and Lorraine Warren, also known as Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, bring their years of expertise to the already-great mix of the movie. It’s like a perfect order of spaghetti, but then they bring you a surprise glass of milk and it just twists the rating in such an intriguing way that it spirals your love for all things, just for a few minutes.
The first film was just as amazing, but I actually found the second one better. While I do believe it has something to do with the funds that the first one raised that could provide better potential for the sequel, I also think the directors are just naturally inclined to have genuine graphics that make everything so real. Combined with the acting, the graphics stop just at the “perfect” line. Each horrifying scene has its own little twist, whether it be an invisible man in the corner holding the remote, a supposed dog that turns into a seven foot tall crooked man, a young girl suspended in air as her not-little-sister-anymore throws her against the wall hard enough to kill, and a dentured bite mark from a flooded basement all brings something different to the table.
The creep factor in this movie was real. It might be because of the young girl being the center of attention, but I like to believe the directors and producers injected creep into every aspect they could. The music, the arrangement of the house, the demon’s appearance, how every person was dressed, not a single part of the movie wasn’t potentially creep-inducing in some way.
Backstory being that the story is documented and actually happened in England in the 1970s, it makes it horrifying. When the credits roll, you are shown side-by-side comparisons of the movie scenes to the pictures taken from the actual case. It is beyond believable and goes straight into your soul.
I genuinely cannot stand when a horror movie develops so quickly that you don’t have time to get used to the characters and scenery, but this one is a completely different story. Starting off with Lorraine’s frightened retelling of an old case that doesn’t have much to do with the rest of the film, but brings an interesting factor to it anyway, was a great start. It delivers a sort of defined knowledge of the movie’s potential into view without giving the plot away. The jump between the Hodgson’s lives and the Warren’s as they unknowingly get ready to encounter each other creates a steady build that truly makes the movie.
The ending to a sequel, probably the most difficult thing to do in the history of filmmaking that will actually make it good unless the whole movie is awful. This one did it right. It leaves room for another sequel, one that you can actually be excited for. It ends happily plot-wise, but then serves you a steaming hot plate of epilogue text about the finale the actual family received that sends chills down every audience-member’s spine.
Believers and non-believers in the supernatural alike, every person who watches The Conjuring 2 will feel deep fear once the credits are rolling and there’s nothing to do but think.