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WHAT'S NEW AT THE MOVIES?
The Conjuring 2
James Wan’s method to the madness cannot be denied. He sure knows how to scare the terrified giggles out of you. But this sequel sticks so squarely to the formula, it leaves plenty of time for the more logical mind to wander.
Yes, in this chapter, we once again see how renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren take on legendary paranormal activities. The most vulnerable of the haunted is, once again, a young girl and, once again, the affected family is facing seemingly insurmountable odds. People are, again, being whipped up against walls by unseen forces and only Ed and Lorraine can possibly save them.
Now I can get into a good horror story just as enjoyably as the next guy, but I did find myself thinking about a lot of stuff that was off-book here. Like, how is the poor English family being visited going to explain all the damage to the house to the landlord? And, when the washing machine first starts leaking, why didn’t they just call the owner then? Or, as Eddie Murphy once noted in his stand up act, just move?
Ah, but I quibble. I should note, however, in really fast paced horror, movies like the recent Babadook or the original Exorcist, I had no time for such lofty notions. What interests me far more in both these Conjurings is its presentation of the “heroes”, the almost too good to be true Warrens.
Ed and Lorraine have cooperated in the making of both films about their supernatural activities back in the 1970’s, when they were hired on, as agents of the Church, to rid us of demons. They wrote books, went on talk shows and became celebrities. Thanks to a few scripted moments, but mostly to the savvy performances from Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, we can’t help but wonder, while strangers worry about believing the haunted, can we believe the Warrens? Wilson carries just enough of a touch of huckster and Farmiga’s inescapable onscreen intelligence lead us to our own questions.
I know, sometimes, as they say, a cigar is just a cigar. Am I conjuring up too much? For most people, they’ll be too busy screaming to look any further.