The Conjuring 2 Blu-ray Review
THE CONJURING ended with a nod to what has been dubbed “The Amityville Horror.” This sequel begins inside of the Lutz’s infamous home with a séance in progress, complete with a partial recreation of the 1974 murders. It’s just another job for Ed and Lorraine Warren…
Jump ahead one year (so, no, THE CONJURING 2 doesn’t revolve around 112 Ocean Avenue) to Enfield, England, which will surely enough be the site of “one of their most diabolical cases.” The residence in question is that of the Hodgson family, occupied by matriarch Peggy (Frances O’Connor, MERCY, another supernatural horror entry) and her four children, Janet (Madison Wolfe, CBS’ ZOO), Margaret (Lauren Esposito), Billy (Benjamin Haigh) and Johnny (Patrick McAuley). Once the house starts acting up (exploding pipes, fuzzy TVs, etc.), Janet begins displaying peculiar behavior. Turns out, she may be possessed by a former resident of the home. Hey, maybe it had something to do with that homemade Ouija board!
Enter Ed (Patrick Wilson, BONE TOMAHWAK) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga, THE JUDGE), who at first have to decide whether or not the incidents in Enfield are part of a hoax, as many insist(ed) was the case in Amityville. Expectedly, it all turns out to involve just what fans of the first CONJURING would expect.
Returning for THE CONJURING 2 are director James Wan, the quartet of screenwriters (including Wan himself), Farmiga and Wilson. So, too are those who saw the first in theaters (the worldwide grosses are nearly identical). They will surely be just as spooked by what is offered this time around, as much of what is featured was included three years ago. Just as 2013’s THE CONJURING was cluttered with cheap boo! moments and demonic presences, so, too, is its sequel. Still, the best scares here are more earned than before—when the beds start shaking underneath Janet and Margaret, it’s scary not because it happens suddenly but because it frightens the girls so much.
Despite some similarities to its predecessor that hurt this effort, there is something much more effective about THE CONJURING 2. The reason may be there is more at stake here. Not only are the Hodgson clan at risk of losing their home (and their minds), but Ed and Lorraine could have their entire reputations and careers smashed. The character development is nicely established early on, as the viewer gets the impression that they haven’t just been dormant between cases/movies, but that they’ve been working and trying to function in a skeptical world.
THE CONJURING slips up where most possession movies do and takes too long to get where it needs to be (Ed and Lorraine are practically making cameos for the first hour), but it’s an improvement and shows Wan bettering as a filmmaker. While he may still be a curious choice for 2018’s AQUAMAN, he has displayed he may be decent one for mature horrors.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Details are fine and black levels are deep, adding to the atmosphere of the movie.
Audio: English Dolby Atmos; English Descriptive Audio 5.1; French 5.1 Dolby Digital; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English, French and Spanish. Dialogue is clear, but it’s the sound effects and score that are the highlights of this audio track.
Crafting THE CONJURING 2 (10:09): This featurette looks at the style of the movie as well as making a sequel.
The Enfield Poltergeist: Living the Horror (12:46): The real Janet and Margaret Hodgson reflect on some of the events that inspired THE CONJURING 2.
Creating Crooked (6:44): The character of The Crooked Man is spotlighted.
THE CONJURING 2: Hollywood’s Haunted Stage (5:08): Paranormal investigator and security guard Johnny Matook visits Stage 4, where THE CONJURING 2 was filmed.
The Sounds of Scary (7:00): Composer Joseph Bishara discusses his work on the movie.
Deleted Scenes (6:31): There are four here, which can only be viewed as a whole.