This surprising little horror movie feels like one of the American classics – The Exorcist or The Omen – but set in North-West London. An American husband and wife team of paranormal investigators, haunted by a demon of their own, travel to London to help a mother and her four children plagued by a malicious spirit. It’s a fun flick.
Something almost integral to any modern horror doesn’t occur in this movie and that’s part of why it succeeds. What is that ‘something’ you ask? No spoilers.
What makes this movie so fresh? Countdown:
10. The Cinematography. James Wan uses clever shots inspired by horror films of the 70s and 80s to punctuate ordinary turning points with disorientating moments.
9. The Atmosphere. There’s a gloom that permeates the film’s atmosphere that’s layered upon themes of love between a mother and her children and the love between a married couple. This juxtaposition makes the film easier to swallow and more fun to watch.
8. The Scares. They won’t make the hardened horror-flick vet jump, but they will do their job with most folk. And that’s because the setups and payoffs as well as how lovely each of the characters are make you care for them while hoping that the creepiness they’re dealing with doesn’t give way to something much worse.
7. The Inventiveness. Some genuine creepy set pieces and characters mix with the shot choices to evoke surprise and genuine interest in scenes that would otherwise feel familiar. Seriously, colour me impressed with the ideas in this film and how they’re shot.
6. The Pacing. Shit just moves well in this movie. Soon as one thing finishes something else starts. I enjoyed every bit of it.
5. The Simple Story. It’s a credit to the writers and director with how well this movie comes together. A lot of things seeded earlier in the film become apparent as integral pieces of the story as the end illuminates the beginning. You can only do that when you have firm grip on every detail of the story.
4. The Actors. Man o man, do you feel something for the Warrens, the kids’ mother, and the kids themselves. These guys just kill it.
3. The Weirdness. Some actual weird shit in this film, like the husband’s portrait of the demon-spirit – which becomes part of the story, hehe – and the Crooked Man to name a couple.
2. The ‘Only Fools Rush In…’ scene. Yep, this got me. Tugged on the ol’ heart strings.
1. The Nods to Classics. If you like The Exorcist, The Omen or Poltergeist then you’ll enjoy how much love those movies are shown in The Conjuring 2.