Dir: James Wan, 2016
James Wan is capable of scaring the shit out of people. It’s a talent that very few people are born with and Wan was born with a bucket load of it.
So, why does he fail, here?
I suspect that he actually doesn’t fail at all and delivers the goods. But, with me being English, I’m so used to hearing this story and all the facets of the case that any scares left to be had have all been exhausted a long time ago.
The story goes that in 1977 a series of poltergeist activity was recorded in a council house situated in Brimsdown, Enfield.
The target of the alleged haunting was the Hodgson family. Occupied by single mum, Peggy, sisters Margaret and Janet and the brothers Johnny and Billy. The case became well known through out the whole of Britain after it was reported by the tabloids and, even, the Daily Mail.
However it was younger sister Janet who more susceptible to the haunting, being used as a conduit for the ghost to speak through.
Pictures were taken of one the girls being propelled out of her bed and recordings were captured of the spirit talking through the girl. The spirit identified itself as Bill, a very gruff talking old man who lived in the house previously and had died there.
Investigated by paranormal researcher Maurice Grosse he came to the conclusion that it was genuine aside from a couple of pranks that the girls played.
Somewhere along the line Ed and Lorraine Warren, self proclaimed demonologists, heard about the case and investigated it themselves. This is where the film comes in albeit not for a very long time.
Vera Farmiga plays Lorraine Warren and Patrick Wilson is Ed. Being Hollywood they look nothing like their counterparts. Farmiga is sexy (just like everything she’s in) but she just isn’t right in the role. She wasn’t right in the first one, either. Lorraine is portrayed as this constantly frightened woman who has never seen ghost or knows nothing about the paranormal! So much for being a demonologist.
The timing of the announcement for the film was overshadowed. In 2015 the UK TV channel Living transmitted a three part drama chronicling the events of the Enfield haunting called, surprise, surprise, “The Enfield Haunting”. This did have some genuine jumps and scares and was a lot more faithful to the legend than this is.
Timothy Spall was cast as Maurice Grosse and did an excellent job in recreating Grosse. For “The Conjuring 2” Grosse is nothing more than a side character with very little screen time.
Unfortunately, it’s just too Hollywood driven. CGI effects are liberally thrown about and have nothing to do with the original story.
The build up to the Warrens becoming involved in the case is just too long. It’s boring. Very slow and very drawn out.
All films have a level of artistic licence but this takes the mick. Some of the events are so ludicrous that they defy all expectations. Being familiar with the story I know what happened at the dwelling and, I can assure you, this didn’t. It’s this level of thinking that takes you out of the film.
The movie is guilty of doing what all movies seem to do, now, and that is to show all the best bits in the trailer. If you want a quick jump scare then watch this. Otherwise, don’t expect a lot.
If you don’t know much of the story, or even know of it all, then give it a watch. With a clear frame of mind you might really enjoy it.