Combustible Celluloid
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With: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney, Franka Potente, Lauren Esposito, Bonnie Aarons
Written by: James Wan, David Johnson, Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes
Directed by: James Wan
MPAA Rating: R for terror and horror violence
Running Time: 134
Date: 06/10/2016

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Warren Lands

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

While a bit on the long side, this very scary sequel shows director James Wan at the top of his game, taking a great idea and turning it into a rare, thoughtful chiller that ponders the metaphysical. It was evident from the original The Conjuring (2013) that the real-life Warrens would make great "ghostbuster"-type characters for any number of sequels, and The Conjuring 2 has delivered on that promise.

Several years after the events of the first film, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) become involved with the famous Amityville haunting. Not long after, and even though Lorraine is haunted by foreboding visions, they agree to investigate a possible possession in Enfield, England. A young girl, Janet (Madison Wolfe), has been channeling the ghost of an old man, and the spirit has been wreaking havoc on the family — including Janet's single mom (Frances O'Connor) and her three brothers and sisters. But despite witnessing some scary paranormal events, Ed and Lorraine are unable to establish any hard proof. Not even the clairvoyant Lorraine can sense anything. Is it a hoax, or merely a diversion?

By now, Farmiga and Wilson have made their husband-wife team interesting and engaging, and worth following into any haunted place. Meanwhile, Wan has turned into an astounding genre director, perhaps the best of his generation, displaying a powerful grasp of visual space, rhythms, and sounds that deserves comparison with John Carpenter or Wes Craven. Even though the movie is puzzlingly long (133 minutes), it never overstays its welcome. Best of all, the "true story" aspect demands that viewers ask questions about the world we live in; how much do we really know to be true?

Warner Home Video's Blu-ray release preserves the movie's spooky look and sound for home viewing. Extras include a handful of featurettes, including one with the real-life Janet and Margaret and the real-life Lorraine Warren, who talk about the real events. There are also a few deleted scenes, and trailers for other releases.

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