One of the best mainstream horror films to be released in recent years came in the form of Warner Bros. 2013 hit THE CONJURING. The film loosely followed one of the more famous cases from real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, focusing on the Warren’s attempt to help a family being plagued by a malevolent spirit in their new home. From a storytelling perspective, the film did very little in the way of originality. However, even though the movie was nothing new, James Wan’s excellent directing, as well as stellar performances from the whole cast, made for an extremely well executed horror film that delighted both critics and audiences. The same could not be said regarding the rushed cash-grab that was ANNABELLE, which was released in theaters two years later. The poorly done spin-off film exploring the origins of the haunted doll, arguably one of the most interesting plot points from THE CONJURING, left a bad impression on fans of the original film, which had been so carefully constructed and well-paced. Well, now fans of the first film can finally rejoice, because the first trailer for the sequel has finally been released!
As we can see from the trailer, this next film looks like it’s taking things back to basics with a reunited cast and crew in order to take on another Warren case file, this time of a haunting in Enfield, London in 1977. The trailer looks like it does an excellent job of maintaining the look and feel of the original, although the orange hue in the original that was used to depict candlelight and the rural environment looks to have been replaced by a dreary gray to depict the English setting. Both Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga have returned to reprise their roles as the married couple seeking to help people with the supernatural. While the real-life couple has been the center of much criticism from skeptics who don’t buy into their supernatural stories, both Wilson and Farmiga’s performances made their film counterparts extremely likable. Farmiga’s take on Lorraine as a kind woman with a gift who shoulders the burden of seeing the horrors and the sadness that spirits undergo that no one else can see was particularly touching. You get the sense that even though it breaks her heart to see these things, she would still never hesitate to plunge headfirst into danger if it meant helping those in need. It seems that her character is holding on to that integrity in this film as well, as it appears as though whatever demonic spirit or ghost that happens to be tormenting this new family in England makes it very clear that it has no qualms about attacking her if she interferes.
The trailer itself does a lot of things right in terms of being able to pull in fans of the original film. From the way James Wan’s name scrolls up the screen to the reprisal of its cast, the trailer seems to be making it clear that this is a continuation of this couple’s story rather than returning to the family in the original film. Honestly that the best thing the sequel could have done, since the couple was what made the original film so interesting (not to mention that the film briefly touches on the Warren museum, which contains an entire room filled to the brim with items that would be right at home in an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE). Wan made the right decision to focus on them, since their experiences create the potential for multiple films. The cinematography looks on point as ever, and as always Wan looks like he has an excellent grasp as to what makes for a great spooky atmosphere. The editing in this trailer is also intriguing, as there are a few blink and you’ll miss it types of scares, namely with whatever the hell this crazy shadow thing is supposed to be (is it Freddy Krueger wearing coattails? I’m going to go with Freddy Krueger wearing coattails).
Though the quick cuts are clearly meant to tease the intensity of the haunting that this film will be presenting us, it’s the longer shots that intrigue me, namely the one where the little girl wakes up lying down on the ceiling, seemingly tethered to something beyond her sight. My only major complaint I have about this trailer is that, much like the original film, I worry about whether or not this movie will have anything new to offer. As much as I enjoyed the trailer, the toy starting to spin made for a great editing effect, but is also oddly reminiscent of another horror film that came out a few years prior that also took place in England. I also worry that James Wan has already used up all his horror tricks. Anyone who saw THE CONJURING in theaters and then watched INSIDIOUS 2 a few months later couldn’t help but notice a few similarities. Does this mean that James Wan is running out of ways to scare us? I would like to think that the similarities between THE CONJURING and INSIDIOUS 2 had everything to do with production schedules, and I’m hoping that now that Wan has been away from the genre for a bit he can come back swinging. That being said, there’s enough familiarity here to make me manage my expectations. However, even if the movie offers no surprises, I’m still optimistic that it will at least be as well executed as its predecessor, which is far and away better than many horror movies that are released each year.
What did you think of the trailer? Do you think this sequel can hold a candle to the first? Be sure to let us know @TheMovieChickk!
If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out the original at Amazon.com!