Susan Granger’s review of “The Conjuring 2” (Warner Bros./New Line Cinema)
Renowned Connecticut demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) return with another ‘documented’ case, this time set in 1977 in England.
After their Amityville debacle, clairvoyant Lorraine insists that they take a break from their demanding case work. While working on that notorious investigation at the Lutz home on Long Island, New York, she had a profoundly disturbing vision of a horrifying nun – shown in the opening séance sequence.
But when the Catholic Church requests their assessment of a paranormal situation in Great Britain, they respond to the evangelical summons, pack their Bible and travel to North London, where a working-class family has been driven from their home by poltergeists.
Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor) is a single mother, raising her four children in a crumbling public housing in the borough of Enfield. Her youngest daughter, 11 year-old Janet (Madison Wolfe), is tormented by angry undead spirits claiming ownership of their flat.
The Hodgson family’s plight fails to elicit the sympathy of their doubting neighbors, while parapsychologist Anita Gregory (Franka Potente) aggressively asserts her own doubts. Yet there’s some support from amateur researcher Maurice Grosse (Simon McBurney).
Based on the notorious Enfield Haunting, it’s scripted by Chad Hayes, Carey W. Hayes, David Leslie Johnson and director James Wan (“Saw,” “Insidious”) as another haunted house tale but this time with a creepy twist, like the wall of crucifixes that are bizarrely turned upside down.
With the help of cinematographer Don Burgess, production designer Julie Berghoff, editor Kirk Morri and composer Joseph Bishara, Wan amplifies the foreboding and dread with sound design, jump-scares and demonic surprises – including a ghoulish leather reclining chair, a self-propelled toy firetruck and a craggy, old man who suddenly pops up, not to mention creaking floorboards and pounding noises.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Conjuring 2” is a supernatural 6, continuing the scary franchise.