Overall, I enjoyed “The Conjuring 2”, and overall, I’m glad to see 70s type horror popular again. But where does the end of homage end and something fresh begin, though?
There are many genuinely creepy moments throughout the film. It starts strong. The middle is soggy with constant knockings, footsteps, and shadowy figures. The schtick gets old fast, but the end has a nice twist that makes up for it. And I loved the gritty 70s feel, from the washed out graininess of the film to the props: oversized headphones and a movie camera the size of a bazooka the main character admires for its compact size and being “so light!”.
The movie, unfortunately, steals so much from the much better film and classic “Exorcist” that part of me wonders what is the point? A little girl playing with a ouija board? Check. Said little girl becoming possessed by a demon? Yep. Catholic church called in to verify the haunting? Mm-hm. Furniture and objects flying around? Outlines of shadowy figures in the hallway? Interviewing a possessed little girl? Check, check, and check.
If you removed all “The Exorcist” tropes and cliches, you’d have about a twenty minute movie.
In my books, I’ve tipped my hat to “The Exorcist” in “The East Croglin Horror”. But at least there were so many different elements beyond that, my work stood on its own. I’m all for nods to the classics, but they should be nods, no the entire damn head.
“The Exorcist” (first as a book then as a film) hit beyond superficial shock and brought up deep fears connected to faith, female sexuality, and the mystery of the human mind. An hour goes by in the film with hardly anything supernatural happening. But we are totally brought into a believable world with believable characters we care about. This is 2016, not 1973. What are our fears now? Mass shootings, terrorism, anti-intellectualism, disconnection… isn’t it horror’s job to rip off the facade of the current zeitgeist to let us cathartically face our raw anxieties?
Where is originality these days? The risk? Break some new ground in the cemetery. “The Conjuring 2” is enjoyable (though there is a terribly corny gimmick involving a CG “Crooked Man” that is the lamest thing ever). Yes, people jumped from the usual set ups of shaky camera work and sudden music, but are we truly horrified with a capital H?
It’s not horror if it’s been done a thousand times before.