Friday, June 10, 2016

The Conjuring 2 [2016]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB ()  ChicagoTribune (3 Stars) (3 Stars)  AVClub (B)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (K. Jenson) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (B. Tallerico) review
AVClub (K. Rife) review  

There are a number of things that potential Viewers should know about The Conjuring 2 [2016] (directed by James Wan, screenplay and story by Carey and Chad Hayes and James Wan as well as David Leslie Johnson), the MOST IMPORTANT being that while:

Ed and Lorraine Warren (played in the film by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmica) really were Catholic laypeople who investigated various paranormal phenomena including most famously the Amityville Horror about which two movies [1979] [2005] were made, and there really was an investigation of the Hodgeson family home in (Enflied) England, the actual level of the Warrens' involvement in the investigation of the case is apparently a subject of debate and the amount of actual prayer that the two CATHOLIC investigators were shown doing as they faced all sorts Evil seemed _really low_ to me.

I just can't imagine walking toward some place where I fully expected to encounter some kind of Evil without having a Rosary and quietly praying: "Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you ..." or "The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want ..."  Then the apparent use of the Prayer to Saint Michael (in Latin) with crucifix in hand at the end (I'd think that the English version would have worked just fine... ;-) fulfilled perhaps the conventions of "Hollywood Exorcism Movies" but seems a silly overkill to me, (seriously one of the Spirits in the film was apparently that of "an old bloke" who had passed away in an old arm-chair while watching TV ;-) especially since I would _not_ have come even close to that room with the (expected) Evil Spirit / Demon in it without said Rosary in my hand, saying my prayers to begin with ... ;-).  [Interestingly enough, THE PROMOTIONAL POSTERS for the film all feature Vera Farmica as Lorraine Warren with a Rosary prominently in her hand.  In the film? ... Nah, not really, strange ;-)]

That all said, this is a pretty good PG-13 / soft-R "scary movie" with _some historical backing to it_:

Single parent Peggy Hodgeson (played in the film by Frances O'Conner) found herself having to deal with chaos in her working-class English home after 11 year old Janet (played by Madison Wolfe) started acting _very strangely_ at night (she thought she was sleep-walking but it got "more complicated" than that) and soon all three of the other kids 13-y/o Maggie (played by Lauren Esposito) and younger brothers Bill and Johnny (played by Benjamin Haigh and Patrick McAuley respectively) started hearing all kinds of menacing banging and eventually eventually objects moving about the house.  Even the Police called-in at one point witnessed a chair or a sofa propelling itself across from one room to the next on its own.

Needless to say, the story became a sensation and various British paranormal investigators including Maurice Grause (played in the film by Simon McBurney), Graham Morris (played by Chris Royds) and Anita Gregory (played by Franka Potente) found their way to the house to try to figure out what was going on.  Eventually news traveled all the way to the Warrens "across the pond" in Connecticut and they went out to look into the case too.

Much ensued ... ;-)

It all makes for a decently spun tale.  I just wish the _Catholic_ Warrens were portrayed a bit more Catholic than simply blurting out Latin phrases at the end ...

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