The Conjuring 2 (2016) [Blu-Ray/Digital]

conjuring2After the blundering misfire that was “Annabelle” I was a bit scared that “The Conjuring 2” would be a bland follow up to what was one of the best contemporary horror films ever made. Thankfully James Wan not only outdoes himself, but builds on the mythology of Ed and Lorraine Warren. “The Conjuring 2” follows the tradition of the original film, putting the Warrens in to an impossible situation where they have to do battle with a powerful evil. What’s more is that the evil has chosen to pick away at a vulnerable lower class family once again, prompting the Warrens to risk everything for the sake of one victim’s soul.

The follow up to the Warren tale begins with their battling the demonic entities in the iconic Amityville house. While investigating, Lorraine garners a vision of a horrific nun with piercing white eyes who seems to be hell bent on warning Lorraine to stay far away. After Lorraine realizes the vision is possibly an omen about Ed’s fate, she begs him to quit the ghost hunts and to stay home. Sadly around the time of their quick retirement, a small family in England begins getting terrorized by a mysterious entity in a two floor flat. As single mother Peggy begins finding herself out of her depth as her four children are terrorized, the Warrens decide to intervene when youngest daughter Janet shows signs of possession. Taking on a new alter-ego and displaying shocking signs of violence, the Warrens realize something sinister is hiding within the walls of the house, and it may be more powerful than they’re prepared for.

As usual, though the film’s focus is on the Warrens, they’re more supporting characters to the horrific haunting that ensues. Director Wan chooses to focus on the cases and the incidences of hauntings and demonic possession, all of which become the center of these films. In reality, director Wan and Warner Bros. are building the Warrens in to something of supernatural superheroes that risk life and limb to save the victimized and co-stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are absolutely mesmerizing. They completely drop themselves in to the skins of these characters, displaying a humility and nobility that make them fascinating protagonists battling against sinister forces left and right. The villain for this follow-up is also very well realized with Wan adhering to his knack for plot twists.

Here Wan develops what is a truly sinister force of evil that ends up showing a new layer of mercilessness that is even more incomprehensible upon second glance. Much like the first film Wan aims for a lot of iconic horror movie moments. One excellent continuous take establishes the Enfield flat, there’s a pretty terrifying moment involving a bell, and Ed’s conversation with the entity is dynamic as Wan keeps our monster brilliantly out of focus for the duration of the scene. “The Conjuring 2” further defines the world of the Warrens pitting them against some of the most discussed ghost stories of the twentieth century, and I anxiously await the third chapter in the saga.

For the Warner Blu-Ray release, there’s a Digital Copy that can be redeemed. There’s “Crafting The Conjuring 2” a ten minute look at the making of the movie with cast and crew interviews, a discussion with cinematographer Don Burgess and the challenges of making the sequel. “The Enfield Poltergeist: Living the Horror” is a twelve minute look at the actual Enfield haunting case, including a talk with the actual Hodgson sisters Janet and Margaret. They recall their experiences with the haunting, and they visit the set to be reunited with Lorraine Warren. There’s also a discussion with the original photographer of the case, and talks with Vera Farmiga, Franka Potente, and the screenwriters.

“Creating Crooked” is a six minute segment that discusses the creation of the Enfield Spirit’s insane manifestation, the creation of “The Crooked Man,” and there’s even a discussion with actor Javier Botet whose shockingly slim build and immense height helped create the dreaded entity for the film. “The Conjuring 2: Hollywood’s Haunted Stage” is a five minute talk with paranormal investigator Johnny Matook, who brings his ghost hunting team to Stage 4 to investigate its own paranormal activity. “The Sounds of Scare” is a seven minute discussion with composer Joseph Bishara who discusses his wonderful score. Finally, there are four separate deleted scenes amounting to six minutes.