The 2013 horror film The Conjuring was something of a surprise hit, and deservedly so – a well-crafted and old-fashioned serving of familiar haunted house and possession tropes, made to look a little more classy than its peers thanks to a high-calibre cast and an endearing period setting which evoked the same 1970s classics it paid homage to. This sequel retains pretty much all the key creative personnel, and as a result ends up hitting the same effective notes with a restrained, patient approach allowing space for tension to build and atmosphere to be evoked.

The director James Wan is supremely confident with this genre (he was behind the original Saw movie amongst several other horror features), in fact his grasp of the mechanics of making people jump is arguably unparalleled in the American studio system at the moment. It’s something of a shame that both films in this franchise have lionised the notorious supernatural fraudsters Ed and Lorraine Warren, but this doesn’t detract from what now amounts to the two most effective mainstream examples of the genre in recent years.

Very similar to, and thankfully just as good as, its deservedly successful predecessor8
The trick of setting a film in the 70s while homaging 70s films is still very effective8
James Wan is arguably the best horror director working at the moment9
Ed and Lorraine Warren were frauds, and portraying them heroically here is problematic4
These films are still the two best American horror films of the last 10 years9
Bechdel Test passes
  • Features more than one named female character
  • The named female characters talk to each other
  • They talk about something other than men
Bechdel Test failures
  • n/a
8Overall Score

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