Starring Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Frances O'Connor, Madison Wolfe, Lauren Esposito, Simon McBurney, Franka Potente, Benjamin Haigh and Maria Doyle Kennedy.
Written by Carey & Chad Hayes.
Directed by James Wan.
It might not be quite as good as the first one, but it's still effective in its own right. Director James Wan is a master at playing with shadows and dark corners, drawing out the tension, releasing it, and then jolting the audience.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are back as Ed & Lorraine Warren, who investigate paranormal activity, usually debunking it, but sometimes they meet fierce opposition from evil spirits. The movie is able to claim it's based on a true story, and yes it is, but it takes a lot of liberties with the truth of the story for maximum scares. Which is fine. They can embellish another case for The Conjuring 3.
This time the Warrens are summoned to England, where a single mother and her four children are dealing with a possible haunting, especially daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe). Furniture moves on its own, a disembodied voice whispers in the dark, that sort of thing. In what came to be known as the Enfield Poltergeist, the evil spirit reveals himself, and from there, the Warrens need to figure out why he's there and how to make him go away.
In some ways, Wan goes bigger here. The third act has more CGI than the original, and one creation actually pulled me out. Too fake-looking to be scary. On the other hand, there are some long-lasting scenes. I still think about the scene where Lorraine is alone in Ed's office and what visits her there.
So while the real-life cases might not have been as spectacular as their movies, it's still a fun journey, well-crafted. Always best to wait until after the movie to look up what really happened.