Review: The Conjuring 2, C+
Rated R, 134 minutes
The inevitable sequel "The Conjuring 2" delivers some mildly entertaining scares, but it can't seem to shake the "been there done that" feeling of poltergeists, demons and lots of things shaking and moving. In 1977, paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) travel to London, England, where single mother Peggy Hodgson (Frances O'Connor) believes that something evil is in her home. When Peggy's youngest daughter starts showing signs of demonic possession, Ed and Lorraine attempt to help the besieged girl, only to find themselves targeted by the malicious spirits. Directed by "The Conjuring's" James Wan (who passed up a bucket load of "Fast and Furious" cash to direct this - maybe a mistake) and based on the Enfield Poltergeist, from the case files of real life paranormal investigators the Warren's, this overlong, overly familiar horror tale has a few nice, jumpy scares, but it lacks the tense originality of the original film, which managed to deliver some nice jumps without lots of blood. At 134 minutes, it's too long and too ambitious, with a repetitive first act that feels a lot like some of Wan's previous work - including the first film and "Insidious," with spirits haunting and crashing a family home in England. It picks up a little steam later on, when the Warren's finally arrive and begin to investigate, realizing that something even more powerful and personal is in the home. Wan tries too hard for audiences to take this thing seriously, focusing on unnecessary character development and tricky camera moves when most people just want to be scared. A demonic nun, a shape-shifting dog and some goofy CGI are among the things thrown at the audience this time, but you still sense there's something very, very familiar about it all; even the nod to the famous "Amityville Horror" case at the beginning seems an afterthought. Not as effective or scary as "The Conjuring," but "The Conjuring 2" delivers a few serviceable scares that'll have Wan and company digging through more of the Warren's case files for more sequels.