I HAVE TO take my hat off to James Wan, as he has slowly become a key player in the horror genre since Saw, which has generated a further six movies, and Insidious, which has collected four films within the franchise.
When The Conjuring was released back in 2013, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome, Wan presented a tale that was both shocking and disturbing, which in my opinion belied the trailer.
I felt that it was a cheap and wanton concept, but was proved wrong with my expectations and thoroughly loved this movie.
The Conjuring would also spawn its own spinoff with the diabolically crap, Annabelle, and don’t get me started on the fact that this also has a sequel in the works.
But upon hearing that a sequel was in the works for The Conjuring and in particular based on The Enfield Haunting, my eyes lit up at the thought of a movie based around this tale as it was a subject close to heart and one of the earliest tales I can recall growing up that was allegedly based on real experiences.
But here’s the thing, and I’m prepared to be grilled by my next few words, but ultimately I was disappointed by the end result.
Now don’t get me wrong, The Conjuring 2 is still a very strong movie, where Wan uses all his usual tricks with light and shadow, and also has an intriguing spirit in the shape of The Crooked Man, with its jerky movements, it has that sense of unease and puppetry in motion that has become something of a calling card in his calibre of work.
Also of note is The Nun character who will also be getting her own movie spin-off. It’s a character that haunts and delights with good measure.
So what’s with the criticism you may ask?
Well, it purely comes down to originality. Here Wan offers nothing new to the storyline around the Warrens, which is a shame because they were such strong characters in the original and it feels like both Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are underused in this. As is Frances O’Connor, an actress that I highly rate but feel she never really gets that moment to shine.
Ultimately though I don’t want to rain on the parade too much as I still look forward to Wan’s movies when they arrive as he has a way of crafting a story that keeps the audience captivated regardless.
Perhaps it’s a good thing that his next movie Aquaman will be a break from the horror circuit to rejuvenate his efforts in the dark world.
But let’s he doesn’t turn his back on it completely as something tells me there are more horrific stories lurking in his mind waiting to be told.
- Paul Farrell