Scaring people is a tough business. Really, it is. If only because we’ve become a bit desensitized to everything. Horror films really need to step up their game. After the success of the first film, James Wan is back in the director’s chair for “The Conjuring 2.” While there are some genuine scares and a definite creepy factor, this sequel may please the average horror fan, but the story isn’t as tight this time around.

Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are investigating a murder caused by possession when Lorraine sees something disturbing. A demon with a horrid face and dressed like a nun appears in the mirror before attempting to choke her. A man in shadow stands in the corner. Lorraine is terrified. Not because she’s hasn’t become used to spirits and the like, but because she’s experienced a similar vision a few years back. The vision scared her so badly that she locked herself away for days, as is referenced in the first film, and now it’s back again.

Meanwhile, in London, a 12-year-old girl named Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe) has begun seeing and hearing things. Her father has recently left her mother, Peggy (Frances O’Connor), and her three siblings (Lauren Esposito, Benjamin Haigh, Patrick McAuley) and she’s been heavily affected by it. An old chair in the corner creaks and an old man appears, only to disappear. At first, they’re small things and then the haunted family becomes even more terrified when the spirit begins speaking through Janet and causing physical harm.

For a long time, it really seems like there isn’t any correlation between what’s going on with the Warrens and what’s happening in London. And even though the two separate story lines intersect, they don’t particularly mesh very well. About an hour into the film is when the Warrens finally make their way to London. Having to prove to the church that the haunting is, in fact, real, they bite off more than they can chew and aren’t as well prepared as they have been in the past.

I enjoyed the first film and so the sequel had something to live up to. On the scale of horror films, “The Conjuring 2” is pretty average. The two stories interconnect in the final fifteen or so minutes of the film, but the movie is so long that at some point, it doesn’t even matter what the connection is, so long as the movie picked up its pace. But it doesn’t. It takes its sweet time getting to its point, mixing a lot of the usual horror elements in there until the suspenseful finale makes its appearance.

Farmiga and Wilson are fantastic as the Warrens and their dynamic is what drives the film and makes certain aspects, like the similar stories they tell the little girl on separate occasions, work in their favor. Madison Wolfe as Janet really owns her role. Being a young person and playing both that and a version of an old and bitter old spirit is quite the feat. One she is able to accomplish.

The brief touches on whether the events in the Hodgson household are real or not don’t really play very well and take up too much plot time. Besides the very, very disturbing and creepy-looking demon nun, the other spirit isn’t as scary in comparison. “The Conjuring 2” delivers mediocrity in terms of actual horror and wastes a lot of time getting to the point. Besides the spirit, a child’s musical toy character is used to add to the horror factor, but it doesn’t add much. The events unravel at too slow a pace and at a little over two hours, the movie is far too prolonged that any interest in the plot wanes before the finale rolls around.

60%
60%
Decent

"The Conjuring 2" delivers mediocrity in terms of actual horror and wastes a lot of time getting to the point. The events unravel at too slow a pace and at a little over two hours, the movie is far too prolonged that any interest in the plot wanes before the finale rolls around.

3star

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About Author

Mae is a Washington, DC-based film critic, entertainment journalist and Weekend Editor at Heroic Hollywood. A member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), she's a geek who loves discussing movies and TV. She is also a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. If she's not at the movies, she's catching up on her superhero TV-watching, usually with a glass of wine in hand.

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