The experience is comparable to a fairground 'spook house'; the thrills & chills calculated but unrelenting. It's engaging, with a succession of creepy images, neat atmospherics & perfectly timed jump-scares providing first-class entertainment, but like its predecessor it doesn't elevate the material beyond the level of sensationalism. Art direction & sound design are both impeccable, but the story falls into cliché.
The real horrors here, of course, are to be found in the Ramsey Campbell-esque drear, grime, and grim claustromania with which Wan depicts, or evokes, or no, wait, I've got it, CONjures the cramped caverns of 1970s lower-middle Londonia. The Warrens' Amerisquare churchiness, which rubbed me all wrong in the first film, is somehow endearing; the strength of their bond lends an unexpected weight to the hoo-ha. 3.5.
I could've gone without The Crooked Man and the overly long run time but I still think it's a solid horror movie that is not only much better than the first one but also than the vast majority of its peers.
Wan runs a tight ship and Farmiga's and Wilson's chemistry is a pleasure to watch along with great acting by everyone involved.
"The Conjuring 2" suffers from a bloated runtime and a screenplay that tends to pile on trailer-ready jump scares in lieu of actually raising the stakes for the characters. Nonetheless, I found great pleasure in the genuine warmth that Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga bring to their roles, and the roving camerawork from James Wan and his ace DP Don Burgess ("Forrest Gump," "Spider-Man") is nothing short of virtuosic.
James Wan yet again crafts an incredibly intelligent, visually stimulating and exquisitely paced film. What impresses the most is Wan's ability to control and feel rhythm. Using old-school techniques, astonishing camera work and Hitchcockian suspense, The Conjuring 2 is able to both frighten and enlighten.
James Wan has a special talent of bringing great horror tales to the screen. These films are not gimmicky and they have that feel of the horror films of 70s and not just because they take place in the 70s.
Wan doesn't rush things, instead taking the necessary time to establish mood, develop characters, and build up successfully two storylines before they converge in the second act. He's also a rarity in modern mainstream horror by having a perfect understanding of the jumpscare. Not using them lightly or for teasing, they always payoff with the real thing—the horror—yet he crafts them in a way that makes them feel new.
Despite the welcome return of Farmiga and Wilson second entry fails to live up to the initial one's promise. The scares are weak for the genre and the trailer definitely gave away too much. Well made with the period captured fairly well except the awful period tunes selected by the music supervisor save 'London Calling' which debuted two years after the setting of this film (!). Does no one check these things.?