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The Conjuring 2 Review

Very Good

Continuing on from the 2013 hit, this sequel blends fact and fiction to follow real-life ghostbusters Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) from the 1976 Amityville haunting to an encounter with the Enfield poltergeist in 1977 London. Filmmaker James Wan continues to deploy every cinematic gimmick he knows to freak out the audience, and the fact that it's based on a true story makes it even more unsettling. Although the cliches of the genre feel a bit tired.

The story opens in Amityville, where the Warrens are deeply disturbed by supernatural forces and decide to take some time off. But they're soon summoned to England to help a family being terrorised by a nasty spirit. Arriving in Enfield, North London, they meet Peggy Hodgson (Frances O'Connor), a plucky single mother of four, who is worried that the ghost of an angry old man is threatening her 11-year-old daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe). Now staying with neighbours (Simon Delaney and Maria Doyle Kennedy) across the street, Peggy has also called in two experts, a true believer (Simon McBurney) and a sceptic (Franka Potente), to work with the Warrens to clear this malevolent presence from the family home.

While the script inventively intermingles the facts of the case with a generous dose of movie fiction, Wan fills the screen with all kinds of creepy goings-on, including banging noises, levitating furniture and flickering TV screens. Additional standard scares include a nerve-jangling toy and a seriously scary nun (who's about to get her own spin-off film, like the creepy doll Annabelle from the first movie). Wan also uses manipulative movie trickery from moody music to grubby production design to prowling camerawork that constantly reveals something frightening in the deep shadows. What he never does is find a new way to scare the audience: we have seen all of these tricks before, but of course they still work.

Continue reading: The Conjuring 2 Review

The Conjuring Review


Good

Old-style filmmaking makes this movie scarier than other recent horror films, simply because director Wan (Saw/Insidious) takes the time to actually develop suspense. By not using cheap trickery, he continually sends chills up our spine. So it's a shame that the story isn't more original, merely pasting together every haunted house cliche imaginable into what's apparently based on real events, but is clearly fictionalised.

Real-life ghostbusters Ed and Lorraine Warren (Wilson and Farmiga) investigated a series of hauntings, possessions and other supernatural events over their career. Their most famous case is Amityville, while this story has apparently only recently been released. It involves the Perron family, which experiences all kinds of strange phenomena when they move into a Rhode Island house in 1971. Carolyn (Taylor) starts having freaky nightmares accompanied by nasty bruising, while Roger (Livingston) struggles to cope with the odd behaviour of their five daughters (Caswell, McFarland, King, Foy and Deaver). As the Warrens determine that this is a case of demonic possession, things get even crazier.

The plot is set out as a fairly straightforward investigation, as the Warrens try to get proof of possession so they can call in a priest. Filmmaker Wan uses this to lure us into a false sense of security, quietly taking us through long scenes in which nothing much happens before gently turning the screws then shocking us with something intensely creepy. Some of this is rather obvious (like a nasty-looking doll or an evil-sounding music box), but it's such sure-handed filmmaking that it can't help but make us squirm in our seats.

Continue reading: The Conjuring Review

The Reaping Review


Terrible
Trouble sleeping? Try The Reaping. As Stephen Hopkins' sinfully boring devil dance continues creeping, at your watch you'll be peeping. By the time you reach the preposterous conclusion, where a sequel-establishing twist looms like a Biblical plague, for humanity you'll be weeping.

You'll need more than faith to accept the film's ridiculous premise, cooked up by sibling screenwriters Carey and Chad Hayes. These two can't distinguish between horrifying and horrible. They last collaborated on the dreadful House of Wax remake starring Paris Hilton. Enough said.

Continue reading: The Reaping Review

House Of Wax (2005) Review


Bad
At last count, summer 2005 has approximately 2,005 remakes on the slate, from a re-imagined Bewitched to a rejuvenated War of the Worlds. The parade of photocopies was supposed to begin this week with House of Wax, a marketable, MTV-friendly version of the original and far superior 1953 version, which starred Vincent Price.

But can you technically call this new House a remake? Helmed with vague sensibilities by music video director Jaume Serra, this vacant lot bears absolutely no resemblance to its predecessor, save for the fact that they both feature suspicious wax museums. That's like saying Titanic is a remake of The Poseidon Adventure because they both take place on capsized luxury liners.

Continue reading: House Of Wax (2005) Review

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Chad Hayes Movies

The Conjuring 2 Movie Review

The Conjuring 2 Movie Review

Continuing on from the 2013 hit, this sequel blends fact and fiction to follow real-life...

The Conjuring Movie Review

The Conjuring Movie Review

Old-style filmmaking makes this movie scarier than other recent horror films, simply because director Wan...

Advertisement
The Reaping Movie Review

The Reaping Movie Review

Trouble sleeping? Try The Reaping. As Stephen Hopkins' sinfully boring devil dance continues creeping, at...

House of Wax (2005) Movie Review

House of Wax (2005) Movie Review

At last count, summer 2005 has approximately 2,005 remakes on the slate, from a re-imagined...

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