I have seen James Wan’s latest film, The Conjuring 2, twice now and already I cannot wait to see it again. As I attempt to gather my thoughts as I write these remarks on the film, I wonder what exactly it is about the film that has really captured me. Is it
the paranormal, parapsychology aspect (which I am a staunch fan and believer of), the scary imagery, story, realism (the film is based on a true story) or the overall production values of the film? Besides being a brilliantly made and crafted film utilizing and to an extent improving horror conventions, I would say that all of those aspects make The Conjuring 2 a superb film.
The overall style, tone and mood of The Conjuring 2 is what really intrigues me. Set in 1977 London, The Conjuring 2 feels like a good old fashioned haunted house horror film that would have been made in the 1970’s. It doesn’t feel like another modern, cliched, dumb horror movie with the usual gore and over the top violence of modern horror films. As a result, this can turn off and disappoint a lot of cinema goers. The same can be said to the same degree about the other great horror film released earlier this year and widely misunderstood, The Witch.
Right from the beginning, The Conjuring 2 transports you, the viewer, into the paranormal research and investigative world of Ed and Lorraine Warren. In fact, the film begins in an all too familiar previous case that Ed and Lorraine Warren were involved in. As the camera slowly pulls back, it reveals that we are in the Amityville house. We know this, not by the caption we see indicating this, but by seeing the infamous evil eye looking windows of the famous haunted house. Right from the beginning we are thrown into the paranormal world of Ed and Lorraine Warren, not sure what will happen next. Throughout the entire film, we eagerly wait to see what terrifying act will unfold in the film. This is what a great horror film should d0, grab the viewer right from the beginning of the film when they are the most vulnerable and terrify and shock them to the core all throughout the film till the very end. James Wan gives the audience hell, none of that fake and useless
There are several interpretations of the film, depending on which way of course, the viewer interprets the film. The film can be seen as a straight-up, simple haunted house horror film, but it can also be seen as a more complex film, a humanistic, spiritual and even religious film. Yes, the film does contain an overpowering demonic force entity that is plaguing and wrecking havoc upon not only the Hodgson Family in Enfield, England, but also the Warren’s. The true unseen, almighty force in the film, however, is God. There is a particular scene in the film where Ed tells Peggy Hodgson that demonic entities like to feed off of stressful situations, which is true for Peg and her children as they struggle through a post-divorce and poverty while living in a council house. A demonic entity also disrupts Lorraine Warren’s religious faith and beliefs in the form of a blasphemous nun.
In the end, what the film teaches us is that despite being in horrifying, fearful situations where hope is lost, God is around to provide safety, security and comfort. God defeats all evil and demonic forces that may haunt and plague our lives. God is the almighty savior. While The Conjuring 2 is disguised as a haunted house horror film, The Conjuring 2 is also a spiritual, religious film. Forget about whether who is the ultimate superhero between Captain America, Batman and Superman. God is the ultimate superhero that will save the day, thanks to the assistance of course of Ed and Lorraine Warren.