James Wan Conjures Up Chills in Sequel - The Conjuring 2 on Blu-ray and DVD

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The Conjuring 2 on Blu-ray and DVD

When I volunteered to review THE CONJURING 2 on Blu-ray, I went into it without having seen the film to which this is titularly a sequel. As it turns out, that's quite okay, because in a broader sense it's not only a stand-apart film, but it's also the latest in a long sequence of stories, from different directors and production companies, stringing back to THE AMITYVILLE HORROR. That's because the protagonists of this film are Ed and Lorraine Warren (portrayed as they were in THE CONJURING by PATRICK WILSON and VERA FARMIGA), the same investigators who were called in to investigate the house in Amityville, New York in the 1970s.

The events of THE CONJURING 2 occur just a few years after Amityville, in the English town of Ensfield. The film opens with the "based on a true story" disclaimer, which seasoned movie goers -- particularly those of the horror genre -- have learned to take with a block of salt. The focal point of this particular possession is Janet Hodgson (MADISON WOLFE), a twelve-year-old girl who begins sleepwalking and (later) channeling the voice of her house's prior occupant, Bill Wilkins (BOB ADRIAN). When poltergeist-like activity is evidenced to both the mother (FRANCES O'CONNOR), the neighbors, and even the police, it gains the attention of the Catholic Church, who in turn appeal to the Warrens to observe, despite Lorraine's reluctance to get involved due to premonitions of her husband's death and visions of a demonic entity.

Director James Wan does a wonderful job giving this film an authentic 1970s feel, from fashion, music -- even the texture of the film itself seems as though it could have been 1970s stock. There are also several very impressive segues where time has passed from one scene to the next but where the camera never seems to cut away.

The horror elements are persistent and pervasive. Every single scene resonates with fear, either being shown to the audience or felt by the characters. The special effects are subtle for the most part, but astonishingly effective. And when they go over-the-top for characters like Demon Nun and Crooked Man, they're absolutely terrifying.

Not being a huge horror buff myself, I now feel compelled to seek out the prequel to this film, THE CONJURING, and it's own prequel, ANNABELLE. While a remake of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR is only eleven years old, I wouldn't mind seeing that one remade with Wilson and Farmiga just to give it a cohesive place among these other movies.

Bonus features on this release include making-of documentaries such as "Crafting THE CONJURING 2" and "Creating Crooked." There's also an in-depth look at the actual events, "The Enfield Poltergeist: Living the Horror." The bonus features also include a collection of deleted scenes and a look into creating the audio effects for the horror.

Previews on this release include LIGHTS OUT.

4.5 / 5.0