12 years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, where they soon become the target of the dollmaker's possessed creation, Annabelle.
A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.
In 1977, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren travel to London, England, where single mother Peggy Hodgson believes that something evil is in her home. When Peggy's youngest daughter starts showing signs of demonic possession, Ed and Lorraine attempt to help the besieged girl, only to find themselves targeted by the malicious spirits.Written by
For the most part, I came out with a positive vibe with the film. Production-wise, I thought it was exceptionally well done, and coming off the original one I can definitely say this held its own very well. Sequels have this innate ability to overdo what the previous installment did, and one might say this did it in some sense, but for the most part it played with a dialed-back approach. I mean look, what am I supposed to say about a film that is supposedly based on a true story? Sure, they will take their liberties here and there regarding what to make happen and how, but if they say it happened what am I to do in telling them they're doing what happened wrong or overly much? It was the right amount of "more done."
In my opinion alone (which will not be consistent with everybody here), the first hour was terrifying (depends on what one considers scary). The crowd interacted with the film appropriately, and the actors on screen did their due diligence to make you fearful for their well-being. Pacing-wise, the second hour took a strange turn. I was fine with what they did by creating more of a slow-burn effect to build up to a large climax, but considering there wasn't much to be considered scary in the second hour, it kind of felt like we got slow-burn for nothing (the end punch was fine, just not nearly as frightening as anything in the first hour is all). I can't really explain it. That's okay I guess, but I'm sure this film ran over two hours long, and I think the most appropriate cut would have been about right at two hours. I was only slightly fatigued by the end of it all.
James Wan has a terrific eye for the horror genre, and likes to display an array of emotions in his films, especially comedy where needed. Nothing slapstick at all, just the perfect blend of realism like "This is how a person acts in real life," something that Christopher Nolan has never been able to do himself. The characters aren't just pieces to tell a larger story, they are the story. Patrick Wilson is silently one of my favorite actors, often taking the non-blockbuster role but still holding his own in a natural way. I have only seen Vera Farmiga in a few films now (The Departed, Orphan, Up in the Air, Source Code, Safe House, and The Conjuring), and with every scene she is in, she just encapsulates me. I would love to sit down and have a dinner conversation with her, if you know what I mean.
Compared to the first film I'd say this resorted with a few more jump scares, but I'm going to credit Wan for not cheapening them and doing them where they fit (no kids scaring each other, etc). This film did not play with the "less is more" mantra as much as the first film though, but like I said I'll go with that in a sequel. The first one also had much more even pacing and left with the right amount of questions unanswered; not to be unfair with this, but I also "believe" the story of the first film more than this one (only regarding what was seen on the screen). However, in The Conjuring 2 I cared more about this family, and I think the tension was equally as good in this film, save the night scenes being just a little too well-lit for my taste. I'd say I might like the first one just a little bit more, at least in that I own the first one on Blu-ray and I don't know if I need this one immediately.
Oh, and just be aware that the official trailer reveals way too much. I'm not even talking about jump scare material (which it does overdo), but I mean story material. Avoid please! Watch the teaser trailer instead, that one is perfect and reveals nothing substantial. Also make sure you stay for the first billing credits sequence at the end of the movie just because of how well it is crafted, as was the film itself! If only they cut out 10 minutes and maybe even $10 million in the budget, I think it would have served its purpose a little more appropriately. Unlike Sinister 2 though, this film didn't disappoint in the slightest.
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