Gonzo’s review published on Letterboxd:
Is it good?
Is it as good or better than the first film?
No, but it's better than any of James Wan's Insidious movies.
Is it scary?
It depends. If you find jump scares and horror flicks based on true events scary, then yes. One thing's for sure though—The Conjuring 2 is one creepy-ass film; arguably even creepier than the original.
The first movie opens with the haunted doll Annabelle. What paranormal case does the sequel open with?
The Amityville Horror, which packs more creativity and creepiness than all of the Amityville remakes and sequels combined.
What's the sequel about this time around?
The Enfield Poltergeist, aka England's Amityville.
What are the best parts?
Farmiga and Wilson. The lead kid, Madison Wolfe. The demon nun (aka Marilyn Manson nun). The painting. The tent. The toy fire truck. The Crooked Man zoetrope.
What's not so good?
The cartoo... I mean, the Crooked Man. The CGI looks cheap, feels out of place, and kills the dread. The sequel also loses steam in the middle and some may find the scares repetitive.
James Wan brought us horror icons such as Jigsaw and Annabelle. Does The Conjuring 2 have a villain that could potentially join their ranks?
Yup, that fucking demon nun. Oh, that bitch gonna cause many sleepless nights and haunt many dreams.
Is there a standout scene? You know, one that might end up a classic?
Yes, the one involving the shadow and the painting. The build-up and execution of that sequence is simply brilliant. It's one that'll surely be in many lists of scariest scenes in the future.
Is there anything after the movie?
If you haven't been freaked out enough for one day, stay for a few minutes after to hear the actual recordings. If you don't want to hear the tape, get your ass off your seat immediately and run the fuck out of the theater.
What's the verdict?
The Conjuring 2 possesses (no pun intended) the best and the worst attributes of the original and Wan's Insidious movies. And while what it amounts to is something lesser than the first film, the sequel is not without its merits. For one, it's nice to see noticeable improvements in Wan's storytelling and characterizations. This time around, Ed and Lorraine's relationship is more fleshed out and the terrorized family is more sympathetic in their plight. Wan has also become quite the master when it comes to jump scares, turning what was once derided and dismissed as cheap thrills and momentary jolts into something of an art form. The inventive imagination, the mounting tension, the careful plotting and execution—it's what sets him apart from the rest. Whereas other filmmakers solely want to make you jump off your seats, Wan aims for a bit more than that. He aims to freak you out and leave his little imprint inside your mind to take home with you. Sure, not everything works—a few scares come off as cheesy, and some attempts at drama end up as schmaltz. It is, however, quite admirable to see a filmmaker like Wan who has enjoyed both critical and commercial success to still be making strides at improving and evolving rather than being complacent and simply turning into a soulless hit factory. If you like Wan's brand of horror and you want your scares to come with a good storyline, go check out The Conjuring 2.
Overall Rating: ★★★½