Having had a borderline obsessive fascination with the paranormal in my younger years, the child in me reacted with unprecedented excitement when I first learned that Wan would be basing his next horror entry on one of the ‘hauntings’ I used to scare myself shitless reading about under the bedsheets, that of the ‘Enfield Poltergeist’.
A largely debunked case from 1977 in which two young girls were terrorised by a ‘demon’ in their council-flat bedroom, The Conjuring 2 recasts the story within the context of the investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). Fresh from investigating a certain house in Amityville, New York, The Warrens reluctantly take on the case of the Hodgson family in Enfield, England, and are swiftly met with more than they bargained for.
So many recent haunted-house movies are rendered slightly ineffective due to the proliferation of gorgeous rich families being haunted in luxurious mansions. The scaling down of the setting makes the suspense sequences all the more effective as most people can relate to being a terrified child sneaking downstairs in the dark for a drink of water and being unable to take their eyes off that one shadowy corner of the room.
The Conjuring 2 is by no means a great, or even a good, film. Aside from previously mentioned problems with general writing, it runs about 20 minutes too long, and there is an almost laughably bad scene involving Ed Warren doing his best Elvis impression. However, anyone looking to be simply and effectively shaken up for a couple of hours (and possibly longer) could do a lot worse.