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Non-Review Review: The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring 2 is effectively a tentpole horror.

It is very much a horror film, with James Wan demonstrating all the skill and technique that he had honed over years working in the genre. There some wonderful slow pans and creepy camera movements that emphasise negative space, some very effective use of timing and mounting dread, and a palpable sense of menace. There are jump scares and slow scares, and enough false alarms to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. The Conjuring 2 is in many ways an old-school archetypal horror film.

He ain't afraid of no ghost...

He ain’t afraid of no ghost…

However, there is something interesting happening in the background. The Conjuring 2 might have all the basic ingredients of a horror movie, but they are assembled in the style of a tentpole blockbuster. To be fair, the big summer release date is a bit of a clue, as is the climax that features a sweeping race-against-time as the heroes try to desperately make it back from the train station. Indeed, The Conjuring already launched something of a shared horror universe with the spin-off Annabelle.

In some respects, The Conjuring 2 feels like something of a mash-up, reflecting contemporary pop culture’s fascination with mashing existing concepts together to form intriguing cocktails. What is really surprising about the film is how well it works.

"I'm sorry, you wouldn't happen to be able to direct me to the Marilyn Manson concert, would you?"

“I’m sorry, you wouldn’t happen to be able to direct me to the Marilyn Manson concert, would you?”

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