The stars of The Conjuring 2 are not found in the names of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, who return here as real life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. It’s not found in the name of its director, James Wan, who has proven himself repeatedly as someone who knows how to craft a suspenseful sequence.
No, the stars of The Conjuring 2 can be found by going over to IMDB and looking up the various names that make up its sound department. The biggest hair rising moments in the 2013 original and this sequel are due to them. Every creak of the steps. Each movement of an empty rocking chair. The turns of a creepy zoetrope. One difference this time around – the first Conjuring simply felt a little fresher upon its release.
After a prologue that touches on the Amityville case and the Warren’s involvement, our sequel takes place six years after the events in that Rhode Island farmhouse. That brings us to 1977 and across the pond to England. We have another family – a poor single mom (Frances O’Connor) and her four children being terrorized by their house dwelling demon. One in particular, 11 year old Janet (Madison Wolfe), gets the brunt of the possession.
Enter the Warrens, who have their doubts regarding the case’s authenticity. They eventually figure out that this lower class family doesn’t have a 2016 level sound effects department at their disposal. There’s a creepy nun that doesn’t quite match the heebie jeebie level of Annabelle in the original, but comes close from time to time. Speaking of, the nun is getting her own spin-off feature just like Annabelle did. Let’s hope the sister’s act is more worthwhile than the doll’s.
Nothing here really equals what made part 1 such an unexpected treat. A team as talented as this will make us jump up in our seats at least a few times and that occurs here. And the added benefit that this is all real (allegedly) doesn’t hurt. True story or not, despite it being directed better than most other genre entries and that aforementioned ace sound team – The Conjuring 2 can’t help but occasionally suffer from a been there, heard that scary sound effect before feeling.
**1/2 (out of four)