Hi everyone, Bryan here….
It seems like a ton of horror movies come out every year, and most times, they don’t live up to their potential. There are a handful of horror movies over the last decade that really satisfy us horror fans. Films like ‘The Babadook‘, ‘It Follows‘, and ‘The Conjuring‘ will still be talked about for years to come. One name in the horror genre, or at least in recent years is James Wan. This man burst onto the scene with ‘Saw‘, which was basically genre changing and spawned a ton of sequels. Wan also made a few other horror films, all testing the bounds and pushing us into a new horror direction, while still respecting his influences.
I can easily say that James Wan’s name belongs up there with the likes of John Carpenter and Stephen King. The guy knows horror and how to execute it so well that his images will continue to haunt for many years to come. I’m glad he signed on to take on the Ed and Lorraine Warren investigations some years ago and gave us ‘The Conjuring‘ and now ‘The Conjuring 2‘, which was previously titled ‘The Enfield Poltergeist‘. If you’re unfamiliar with Ed and Lorraine Warren, these are two real-life people who were paranormal investigators and professors, who helped a lot of people from hauntings and possessions.
Perhaps their most famous investigation was ‘The Amityville Horror‘, which is where ‘The Conjuring 2‘ starts out, as Ed and Lorraine Warren are investigating the house a few months after the Lutz family moved out. It’s here that Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) has a vision of something so sinister, that she makes her husband Ed (Patrick Wilson) promise that they are done with these investigations. That’s when things start to go awry over in England at the Hodgson residence where things go bump in the night and then some, as the mother Peggy Hodgson and her four young kids are subjected to moving furniture, screams, and much more.
Ed and Lorraine hear of this and set out to England to help out, despite their previous promise, and then all hell breaks loose – literally. Running at over two hours, there are certain times where ‘The Conjuring 2‘ seems like its doing too much, but there is nothing bad about the movie really. It’s just that we’re put through so much suspense, horror, and terror, that by the final act, we are glad it’s over with. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes you exhausted by the end. Director James Wan is true modern master of horror. He uses the usual horror genre tropes, but makes them relevant and fresh all over again, whether it be a child hiding under the covers while something is hovering over you, or a possessed toy, and even ghostly visions.
Most of these moments will leave a lasting and terrifying impression that will make it difficult to sleep at night, particularly a certain beastly nun. I still get shivers thinking about it. Wan also adds some comedy here, but is used sparingly, and is relegated to the time period. It was a nice breath from all the intense horror that was going on in the film. The score is fantastic and adds to every single moment of terror. It’s incredible that these stories are real and that you can actually research them, and Wan does an incredible job of adapting the material and making it entertaining and scary-as-hell. ‘The Conjuring 2‘ is a fantastic sequel and is an instant horror classic.
‘The Conjuring 2‘ comes with an excellent 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The image looks fantastic from top to bottom, as director James Wan and world famous cinematographer Don Burgess have perfectly conjured (I’ll show myself out) up the most haunting images in years on screen. The movie was shot digitally, but has a filmic quality to it all the same. There is a noticeable difference in the color palette when in America or over in England, where the American settings have a warmer and brighter color palette. On the other side of the scale, the England settings are mostly cold and bitter with tons of grays, silvers, and icy blues to give that impoverished and decaying look, as well as that eerie aurora about the house and neighborhood.
The use of the color red pops throughout the film, but I wouldn’t say that bright uses of primary colors are on display here, and they shouldn’t be. Detail is always sharp and vivid throughout, never going soft in the darker scenes, which there are plenty of. Closeups reveal excellent facial features and makeup effects and some great stitching in the timely wardrobe. Wider shots look fantastic as well with background objects, characters, and even some CG work looking excellent. Black levels are deep and inky and never goes murky or has any crush. Skin tones are natural and there are no issues with any banding, aliasing, video noise, or any other compression problem, leaving this audio presentation with great marks.
This release comes with an awesome Dolby Atmos track, as well as a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for those of you that don’t have an Atmos set up. This is what Dolby Atmos was made for. This scary-as-hell movie uses sound to heighten the suspense, including creaky doors, bangs on the walls and doors, or a general sense of something sinister watching you. It’s highly effective and fully immerses you in the horror of the haunting that is taking place. Footsteps above on the overhead speakers and pounding on the floor boards can be heard and pack a scary punch at each turn.
All of the moans, roars, and other ghastly sounds are spot on too and each noise has some great directionality. The score always adds to the suspense and terror in each scene without drowning out any other aspect of sound. The bass rumbles throughout in various stages an d never sounds rocky. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow, no matter if its earth shattering screams or soft whispers, all of the dialogue sound excellent. Lastly, there were no pops, cracks, hiss, or high shrills.
Crafting ‘The Conjuring 2’ (HD, 10 Mins.) – The cast and crew discuss the making of the film, the characters, and how this sequel ties in with the original film.
The Enfield Poltergeist: Living the Horror (HD, 13 Mins.) – A very cool extra here, but all too short as the real life Hodgson sisters and the real life Lorraine Warren reunite for this movie, visit the set, and talk about their scary experiences from when they were young. Some of the cast and crew, as well as a journalist who covered the original haunting is featured here too.
Creating Crooked (HD, 7 Mins.) – One of the evil spirits here in the film is called Crooked, where makeup effects artist Justin Raleigh discusses how he created the creature and costume. The actor Javier Botet, who played Crooked is also here, and is scary as hell.
‘The Conjuring 2’: Hollywood’s Haunted Stage (HD, 5 Mins.) – Oddly enough and funny, a security guard at Warner Bros. who doubles as a paranormal investigator named Johnny Matook, brings along his team to the set and stage where the film was shot, and tells us that the Warner Bros. lot is haunted by past crew and cast members.
The Sounds of Scare (HD, 7 Mins.) – Composer Joseph Bishara talks about scoring the film and how he made the music haunting.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 7 Mins.) – There are four different scenes here, one of which shows the children being picked on at school.
THE ULTIMATE WORD
‘The Conjuring 2‘ is scary as hell and made me sleep with the lights on while watching ‘Seinfeld‘ for a few nights. It’s one of the better sequels out there, which has character depth, story, and some pretty impressive visuals and a ton of subtle scares that will haunt you for days. Damn, this movie is scary. The video and audio presentations are both excellent with an emphasis on that amazing Dolby Atmos inclusion. The extras are decent, but I wish there were more or some of them were much longer, because this story is incredible. If you like horror movies, then ‘The Conjuring 2‘ is a MUST-OWN!