11 September 2017



I'm disappointed to have to say this but I didn't enjoy this sequel half as much as the original film, also by James Wan. THE CONJURING scared the living daylights out of me. THE CONJURING 2 definitely had a load of scary moments too, but there were bits of it that I would have left out if I'd been the decision-maker on that one. Let's have a look at the plot and I'll try to explain myself.

The sequel is based on the real-life paranormal phenomenon case known as THE ENFIELD POLTERGEIST. Between 1977 and 1979 in England, a pre-teenage girl called Janet Hodgson was apparently terrorised by the ghostly figure of one of her family's council house's previous incumbents, a bitter old man called Bill, long deceased.

Before too much time had elapsed, the rest of her frightened family started seeing the apparitions too. Objects moving around the house, fists pounding on doors when no-one was there, creaking footsteps on the stairs, the television acting up, that kind of thing.

The kind of thing that would make any sensible family run immediately for the hills, but families in films always seem to want to see things through to the bitter end. All for the benefit of the viewers, haha. How very kind and thoughtful of them...!

I felt extremely sorry for poor old Peggy Hodgson, the single mother of four children whose father had buggered off to have twins with a woman in another street. Talk about the ultimate slap in the face. He doesn't even have appeared to have come out of the woodwork when his house and kids made the papers. Maybe he did in real life, but he's not in the film anyway.

Poor Peggy was left with the kids, a run-down old council house that could have done with a lick of paint... and the house's resident poltergeist, the spiteful old Bill Wilkins. What a dog-in-the-manger he was. He couldn't inhabit the house any more the way he wanted to, on account of his decidedly deceased status, but he didn't want the Hodgsons to live happily in it either.

American ghost-hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren are called in to investigate the case. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are here reprising their roles from the first film. They were brilliant in the first film. I loved 'em in it. I didn't like them so much in the sequel. They were much too mushy and lovey-dovey towards each other in it. It was a bit sickly, to be honest.

I found the idea of the malicious old man ghost who'd lived in the house previously both believable and spooky, but the demonic nun...! I would have left her out of this film altogether. Completely unbelievable, over-the-top and even a bit tacked on. Yes, she's hideous to look at but I genuinely feel like her presence weakens rather than strengthens the film. I didn't much care for the Babadook-y Crooked Man either.

Although I learned a valuable lesson from the CGI nun's inclusion in the movie. Call a demon by its name and you can blast him/her back to hell straightaway, no problem-o. If the priests in THE EXORCIST had had access to this information, we may not have had a film there...!

The house is big, rambling- very rambling indeed for a council house!- and creepy as hell, especially at night. The furniture, especially in the sitting-room, was so authentically 'Seventies. I have vague memories of similar squashy, battered old brown armchairs taking up space in our own living-room back when I was a nipper, so the film-makers here have really done their homework and created a believable setting for their incredible story.

The sceptics seemed to have outnumbered the believers in the case of the Enfield Haunting/ Poltergeist, which has been the subject of numerous writings and television programmes. I was disappointed to see how many of the personnel involved in the case thought that Janet's 'old man-ghost' was all an elaborate hoax and that Janet had faked the whole thing.

Myself, I don't see how all of it could have been a hoax. As a horror fan, naturally I'd like to think that these things exist. I'm not sure I want to meet any of 'em face-to-face, but I love
to hear about such supernatural stuff happening to other people. 

I'd love to think that the Enfield Poltergeist actually existed, that and The Amityville Horror, another of Ed and Lorraine's much-publicised cases. Another case which the sceptics were queuing up to disprove, God bless their non-believing little hearts, and which features at the beginning of THE CONJURING 2.

Mind you, the people directly at the centre of these cases probably wish that they'd never been singled out for such specialist attention from the creatures who inhabit the shadowy realms of the supernatural. Without them and their terrifying experiences, however, we horror fans wouldn't be able to get our kicks from watching their movies and reading their books. And, after all, isn't that what really matters...? 


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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