Movies: The Conjuring 2

Just in time for Hallowe'en!

I enjoyed this one more than the first (and I didn't think the first one was bad, so . . .)

Not to say there weren't issues. Some very basic things, like why not get rid of the chair that seemed to be central to the ghost's activity? And, why didn't Ed give the girl that crucifix right from the start?

If you're wondering what I'm talking about, The Conjuring 2 covers what was known as the Enfield Poltergeist which terrorized a family in Enfield, England. In particular, 11-year-old Janet was the main target. As ever, things start strange and get stranger, yet no one seems to think it's worth mentioning or doing anything about it until the furniture starts moving. By then, however, it's too late. Janet finds herself repeatedly possessed by what claims to be the spirit of Bill Wilkins.

Meanwhile, Ed and Lorraine Warren have just come off the famous Amityville case, and Lorraine wants to take some time off. She's been shaken by a vision of Ed's death and also some kind of demonic nun. (Here is where another issue pops up: why hang the painting of the demon nun in your office?) But when they hear of this family in England that needs their help, despite Lorraine's misgivings, they go.

[potential spoilers follow]

I think this is supposed to build some kind of tension in the sense that we're supposed to worry Lorraine's vision of Ed's death will be realized. But I never felt worried for Ed at all. Being that Ed and Lorraine are real people, I kept thinking, I'm pretty sure that's not how he died. Not that I know how he died; I've never looked it up. But it's the kind of thing where I'm pretty sure I'd have heard that story if that's how it had happened, if that makes any sense.

If you look up the realities of the Enfield case, you'll see that Janet, once grown, admitted to making some of it up, along with her older sister. Many investigators believe it was entirely made up. The movie addresses this slightly by having Janet caught on camera throwing stuff around in order to make it appear that the spirit had done it. However, it also excuses this by having Janet tell her siblings that the spirit threatened to kill them all if she didn't make the investigators leave (and her being caught faking it caused them to pack it in). One also has to wonder whether, while possessed, a person might not wreak destruction in any case?

The ending was, to my mind, a bit weak after all the build-up. The first half of the movie is simply watching the spirit ramp up its offense against this family, and then the Warrens come on the scene, and there is a kind of wire crossing between Bill Wilkins and Demon Nun, and things devolve from there. Are we supposed to believe the demonic nun lured the Warrens there? Seems excessive. Also, why did the demon tell Lorraine its name? Surely it knew that information would give Lorraine power over it? Then again, why does any demon do any of the things it does?

Sidebar: A Bit of Fun

While watching, my husband and I kept thinking the Simon McBurney character reminded us of Moss on The IT Crowd. We couldn't stop laughing over it, and now we really wish they'd do some kind of Hallowe'en special. Jen could be the skeptic played by Franka Potente? Can that be made to happen?

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