25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE CONJURING 2

CAST
Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)
Patrick Wilson (Watchmen)
Madison Wolfe (The Campaign)
Frances O’ Connor (Bedazzled)
Franka Potente (The Bourne Identity)
Simon McBurney (The Last King of Scotland)
Maria Doyle Kennedy (Sing Street)
Robin Atkins Downes (Suicide Squad)
Bonnie Aarons (The Princess Diaries)
In 1976, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren document the Amityville murders at the Amityville house, to determine if a demonic presence was truly responsible for Ronald DeFeo Jr. mass murdering his family on November 13, 1974 and the subsequent haunting incident involving the Lutz family. During a seance, Lorraine is drawn into a vision where she relives the murders and discovers a demonic nun figure, before seeing Ed being fatally impaled. After a struggle, Lorraine is able to break out of the vision.
One year later, in 1977, the Hodgson family begins to discover strange occurrences within their home in London. Janet, the second oldest of four children, is seen sleepwalking and conversing in her dreams with an entity who insists that the house is his. Eventually, all siblings of the house and their mother Peggy witness paranormal events occurring right before their eyes, forcing them to seek refuge with their neighbors. When the media attempts to interview the Hodgsons, Janet is possessed by the spirit of Bill Wilkins, an older man who previously lived and died in the house, and who wants to claim his territory. As Janet begins to show more signs of demonic possession, the story eventually reaches the Warrens, who are requested to assist the local church in the investigation. Lorraine, in fear of her vision of Ed’s death becoming reality, warns him not to get too involved in the case, and reluctantly agrees to travel to London. She has yet another vision of the demonic nun in the collection room wherein the demon says its name, which Lorraine scribbles in her Bible.
While staying at the Hodgson residence, Ed and Lorraine consult with other paranormal investigators, including Maurice Grosse and Anita Gregory, on the legitimacy of the case. They also attempt to communicate with Wilkins’ spirit, hoping to talk him out of harassing the family. One night, after the Hodgsons witness Janet being possessed, Gregory presents video evidence of Janet purposely wrecking the kitchen as if for a prank. Ed and Lorraine are then convinced to leave the family on their own, but soon they discover that the spirit of Wilkins is only a pawn, being manipulated to haunt Janet, while the true mastermind is the demonic spirit that has been haunting Lorraine in her visions.
Ed and Lorraine return to the Hodgson residence, only to find Janet being possessed once more and the rest of the Hodgsons locked outside the house. A lightning strike hits a tree near the house, leaving a jagged stump resembling the object that impaled Ed in Lorraine’s vision. Ed ventures inside the house alone, and finds Janet standing near the window, ready to leap onto the stump and commit suicide. He manages to grab Janet in time, but finds himself holding onto a curtain that is being torn from its rings by his and Janet’s weight. Lorraine remembers that she wrote the demon’s name – Valak – in her Bible. She enters the house and confronts Valak, addressing it by name and successfully condemning it back to Hell. Janet is freed of her possession, and Lorraine pulls her and Ed to safety.
A text epilogue reveals that Peggy lived the rest of her life in that house and died in 2003, sitting in the same spot in which Wilkins had died 40 years earlier. Upon returning home, Ed adds an item to his and Lorraine’s collection – “The Crooked Man” zoetrope toy owned by Peggy’s youngest child – placing it near April’s music box and the Annabelle doll. The couple then dance to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley.
The Conjuring 2 is as strong as the first. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first, or indeed likes haunting films.

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