The Conjuring 2 Blu-ray Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Blu-ray released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Directed by James Wan
Written by Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, James Wan, and David Leslie Johnson
2016, 134 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on September 13th, 2016
Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren
Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren
Frances O'Connor as Peggy Hodgson
Madison Wolfe as Janet Hodgson
Simon McBurney as Maurice Grosse
Franka Potente as Anita Gregory
Lauren Esposito as Margaret Hodgson
Benjamin Haigh as Billy Hodgson
Patrick McAuley as Johnny Hodgson
Maria Doyle Kennedy as Peggy Nottingham
Simon Delaney as Vic Nottingham
Bob Adrian as Bill Wilkins
When I first saw and reviewed The Conjuring almost three years ago, I loved it so hard I wanted to marry it. I still do. Not only is it one of the best haunted house movies to be released in the past decade, it can easily stand toe-to-toe with the greatest of all time. Naturally, due to its success, the inevitable sequel was announced, and here we are with its Blu-ray release; something I've been patiently waiting for since it left the theaters. (For the record, I no longer watch movies in the theater. You jerkholes with your talking and your cellphone use has ruined it for me. Thanks, Obama.)
Like its predecessor, The Conjuring 2 opens with demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren wrapping up a case. In the first film, it was "The Mystery of the Possessed Doll" (Annabelle), and here it's the more famous Amityville house. After "ridding" that property of its "demons" (seriously, I can't help be sarcastic), the couple head home where Lorraine tells her hubby that they can't fight ghosts anymore because she's having visions of him dying.
Obviously, all that changes when they are asked to investigate a series of paranormal events in England that center on a young girl, Janet. Not only is the poor lass seemingly possessed, but the house she lives in is brutally haunted, with furniture flying about as much as Janet herself. This little supernatural party is also known as The Enfield Haunting, the UK's very own Amityville.
The first hour of The Conjuring 2 is absolutely fear inducing. It tells of Lorraine's battle with a demonic nun immediately following the Amityville escapades while also setting up the story of what's going on with the family in Enfield. Not for nothing, the encounter Lorraine has with the nun from hell in Ed's art room is one of the most terrifying things I've seen in recent memory. I could watch an entire movie based on this particular demon alone (and perhaps one day I will). Director James Wan (Insidious: Chapter 2) expertly weaves the two stories into one by the end of the film; something I honestly didn't see coming.
Patrick Wilson (Bone Tomahawk) and Vera Farmiga (Bate's Motel) reprise their roles as the Warrens, and the two bring the synergy they had in the first film. They work well together, Wilson portraying Ed as a tough guy with a heart of gold, able to fix a broken washing machine just as easily as fight off demons. Farmiga's Lorraine is yin to Ed's yang as she is a medium, her mind sensitive to the spirts around her.
On the UK side of things, Madison Wolfe gets a special shout-out as the young Janet Hodgson, the girl at the center of this madness going on in Enfield. Child actors tend to be unimpressive, but Wolfe easily runs the gamut of the emotions with her character, managing to make you believe and feel her terror one second, and then be terrified of her the next as she levitates or speaks with the voice of a dead man.
The real stars in The Conjuring 2, however, are the scares. There are a variety of evils waiting to raise the goosebumps, from the mentioned nun to the demon living vicariously through Janet to the Crooked Man; and I'm not even going to get into that creepfest. You can experience that little slice of a heart attack all on your own. While I will take away points for some of the unnecessary jump scares (Wan is a far better director than that, and should be above it), overall, the movie delivers the fear in spades.
I have to hand it to James Wan. When I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to have the likes of John Carpenter and Wes Craven churning out horror classics one after another. A director that delivered horror hits constantly is something this genre has desperately missed in arguably at least two decades. But that ends now. If there was any question before, there isn't one now. With The Conjuring 2, Wan has solidified his spot on any "Masters of Horror" list. No other director in the past decade has been more consistent than him in the genre.
While The Conjuring 2 isn't quite as good as The Conjuring, it is one of those rare sequels that is quite capable of standing on its own merits. This is one of those wonderful moments where time is equally spent on developing both characters you care about and root for, as well as scenes where your privates just want to crawl up inside you and hide until things are safe. If you liked The Conjuring, there is absolutely no reason why you won't like this one too, it's a must buy.
Video and Audio:
The Conjuring 2 arrives on Blu-ray with a stellar picture. As you suspect, it being a horror movie and all, most of the film takes place in dark corridors and low-lit rooms. In addition, much of the movie is in rainy, dreary England, so bright, sunny scenes are few and far between. The Blu-ray handles this with ease, as the blacks are wonderfully deep, and there is a lot of fine detail to be seen in that '70s wallpaper in the Warren's home and those glorious Starsky & Hutch posters in the girls' room.
The Dolby Atmos audio track is as impressive as the video. Your subwoofer gets a nice workout, but the sound design utilizing the surrounds is what the winner is here. Whether it's the rain encompassing the whole room or that evil voice whispering sweet nothings in your right ear, this is exactly what every horror fan should get on a home release.
English, French and Spanish subtitles are available.
- Crafting The Conjuring 2
- The Enfield Poltergeist: Living the Horror
- Creating Crooked
- The Conjuring 2: Hollywood's Haunted Stage
- The Sounds of Scare
- Deleted Scenes
That may look like a lot of features, but unfortunately even if you played them all at once, it still wouldn't reach an hour.
"Crafting The Conjuring 2" (10:09) is your standard EPK, consisting of interviews with the cast and crew discussing the challenges of making the movie.
It would have been nice if "The Enfield Poltergeist: Living the Horror" (12:46) were twice as long. It centers on the real-life case of The Enfield Haunting, and sisters, Janet and Margaret Hodgson, are here for new interviews. There's also a rather sweet moment caught on camera when they visit the set and see Lorraine Warren for the first time in who knows how long. This was a missed opportunity, as I imagine those involved have a lot to say and 12 minutes isn't going to cut it.
If you are a fan of the Crooked Man, then you won't want to miss "Creating Crooked" (6:44) as it focuses on one of the film's more terrifying creatures. I'm not going to lie, I thought the bad was a CGI creation. If you thought the same, you are in for a surprise.
Johnny Matook, paranormal investigator, is the focus in "The Conjuring 2: Hollywood's Haunted Stage" (5:08). He and his team scout Stage 4, where The Conjuring 2 was filmed for ghosts, as it's supposed to be the most haunted Stage on the lot. Without spoiling anything, this one is very safe to skip.
For those more musically inclined, composer Joseph Bishara shares his experience with the score in "The Sounds of Scare" (7:00).
Four deleted scenes (6:31) round out the features.