The 'other' scariest case the Warren's dealt with.
Following the surprise success of James Wan's original throwback 70s-set horror, and after a couple of middling Annabelle spin-offs, the Warrens return for another mystery case.The Conjuring 2 was only a matter of time, given the success of the original, but, without the clever subtlety that director James Wan relied upon first time out of the gate - in welcome preference to the more clumsy shocks of most modern cinema - his sequel can't quite build the same tension or deliver the same surprise scares. Stars Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) and Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) return for more investigations and exorcisms, but the new 70s Britain setting (complete with requisite 'London's Calling' montage to introduce the new locale) feels more cliched than colourful and the Brit accents are all over the shop.One of the biggest problems, though, is that it feels like there's no real threat here. Unlike first time around, despite the occasional, effective 'jump' scare, and the occasional, clever, more subtle effects - the creepy movement of remote controls, or the creature in the shadows you can't quite see, or the painting that comes to life - Wan goes for overkill second time out, celebrating repeated scenes of demonic possession ad nauseam, with little sign of ever stopping in what is an overlong runtime. And with seemingly little cost - physical or psychological - to the family at the heart of this sequel, it feels a lot more like sound and fury this time out.
Picture QualityThe Conjuring 2 is an exceptional-looking haunted horror, revelling in its seemingly infinite shadows and impenetrable blacks, whilst delivering impressive clarity and detail no matter how dark things get. Sure, the 70s Brit period setting doesn't immediately lend itself towards crafting reference or demo material, but Wan's visuals - through the lens of cinematographer Don Burgess - still impress despite the limitations.
Revelling in seemingly infinite shadows, the Blu-ray delivers impressive clarity
Framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen, the 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation leaves little to complain about. Skin textures and background flourishes are intricate, with the finest observations being picked up in the backdrop, again with the ever-encroaching shadows creeping in from every corner and every crevice. The colour scheme, whilst faithful to the period, retains a few strong primaries and some nice, rich tones, and overall it's a very good presentation indeed.
Sound QualityThe Conjuring 2 comes to UK Blu-ray complete with an exceptionally precise Dolby Atmos track that delivers a tremendous Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core. Dialogue - at least from the lead characters - is generally prioritised across the frontal array, although the possessed vocals do tend to have a clever 'thrown voice' feeling to them that gives them a more ethereal, all-around-you vibe. Of course the screams and cries from beyond the shadows are well-rendered across the surrounds, leading us to an expertly-crafted effects offering. The score offers warm support to heighten the tension in scenes of terror, but it's the discrete effects and their dissemination across the array that truly stands out. With some surprising LFE input that will get right under you skin, this marks an exceptionally effective audio accompaniment.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack offers an exceptionally effective audio accompaniment
ExtrasWarner's Region Free Blu-ray hosts a number of extra features that are predominantly featurette-based. It boasts a quintet of hefty offerings that delve into various aspects of the production and provide some welcome depth. Crafting The Conjuring 2 takes an overview to making a sequel to the hit original, whilst The Enfield Poltergeist: Living the Horror offers up some interesting input from the actual sisters who claim they were terrorised in real life.
The extra features boast a quintet of hefty offerings that provide some welcome depth
Creating Crooked dissects the creation of one of the key manifestations and looks at the very distinctive actor behind the role, whilst The Conjuring 2: Hollywood's Haunted Set attempts to posit the stage where it was shot as itself being haunted by past spirits. The Featurettes are rounded off by a look behind the score in The Sound of Scare. The disc itself is rounded off by a clutch of Deleted Scenes totalling 6 minutes of additonal footage, as well as a number of Preview Trailers and a UV copy of the movie.
Blu-ray VerdictAlthough failing to live up to the unusual and effective scares of the original, the sequel does maintain the same feel and provide the game returning cast with a new stage upon which to play out their unique chills. Director James Wan can't conjure up the same magic as before, falling into the all-too-common pitfall of assuming that more of the same, only done bigger and for longer, is a good thing, and it's only in the quieter, more subtle moments, that The Conjuring 2 even approaches the level of scares of its predecessor.
It's only in the quieter, more subtle moments, that The Conjuring 2 approaches the level of scares of its predecessor
Warner's Region Free UK Blu-ray release is hard to fault, however, providing excellent video and an exquisite Dolby Atmos soundtrack, as well as an impressive selection of extra features. It's likely a must-have for fans of the original, although those who didn't even add the first to their collection may be more inclined to give this a rental.
You can buy The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case on Blu-ray here
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