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Review The Conjuring 2 (2016): James Wan delivers but not in the way you would expect!

genre: horror, mystery, thriller

By now you sort of know what you can expect from James Wan. While at first glance it looks like he repeats the same trick over and over again he actually tries to do things differently each time. Sometimes that works out perfectly and sometimes not so much. The Conjuring brought us the same dread and scares as Wan's Insidious but also was very loud, bombastic and over the top. The Conjuring 2 takes a step back and takes a somewhat different route.

It still has a lot of scenes that are loud and over the top and ultimately not that scary but somehow it does manage to draw you in it's craziness. These moments are compensated with scenes involving a very scary looking nun who resembles Marilyn Manson. Easily the best sequences in the film but used sparingly which is wise. It might all seem very chaotic and random although I liked how The Conjuring takes us in some different directions. Not that it will catch you off guard or something but events do remain fresh this way even if the majority of the events are very predictable. In essence The Conjuring 2 is very much like your typical haunted house / ghost film where some evil spirit is up to no good. In previous James Wan films a lot of the focus went on finding out who they were and how to deal with them. This time around it's not as important since Wan is also trying to tell us that we can't blindly accept that some of the events we are shown are real. I think he fails to do this effectively but I do appreciate the attempt. For a better example of this check out The Babadook.

Once again most of the bizarre is made believable by the good cast who seem to take everything as serious as possible. Especially Madison Wolfe as Janet is selling the terror in ways you can't imagine by just looking a certain way. 

If you compare this sequel to the original or the Insidious movies you will notice that the sense of dread is severely lacking. Sure there are enough intense scenes to keep the viewer interested but it never builds up to something bigger or something super scary. And yet for some reason I can't deny that I still was having a lot of fun throughout. So do keep your expectations in check when planning to watch this. 

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