I had such high hopes for this movie! Unfortunately, they were dashed about forty-five minutes in. The movie started out well enough, a similar suspenseful vibe like in the beginning of The Conjuring. The tie-ins from the previous film were actually done reasonably well throughout the story, but as the movie went on, I’m sorry to say, it got progressively cheesier and more far-fetched.
The movie starts right where the last one left off: Josh comes back from “the further” and kills the medium Elise, who was helping them, and there’s a police investigation, of course, and of course, they suspect Josh. Not only because of what Renai saw in Elise’s final photograph, but because he was probably the only one strong enough to do it. However, the person who whose hands matched the pattern on Elise’s neck didn’t match Josh’s hands, so it seems like he’s all clear, of police charges, at least.
However, Renai begins to notice the same kind of disturbances as before, the poltergeist sort of activity going on in the house, and she starts to worry it isn’t really over.She tells her husband, but he tries to reassure her and asks her to calm down and put it all behind them, but, as we had a hint at the end of the last movie, Josh is no longer himself. The creepy old woman in the dress and veil has taken over his body.
The second movie actually takes place in a relatively short amount of time because the police investigation is still going on, so I think, it’s not more than a week, maybe two weeks, since the final scene of the first movie. Though Renai starts suspecting that whatever was haunting them before is still there, Josh (actually the old woman) tries to reassure her because she doesn’t want her to find out the truth. But, Josh’s mother Lorraine has also seen some of the apparitions and knows something still going on.
Lorraine gets back in touch with the ghost hunter guys who were in the last movie as well and they track down a man called Carl who had helped her and Josh when he was little boy. This is where the story starts to devolve rather quickly. The scenes from Josh’s childhood were especially painful to watch, mainly because the young Elise is even more of an over-actor than the one we met in the first movie. The movie still has its really scary moments at times, some edge-of-your-seat, jump-out-of-your-chair moments, but they’re not enough to counteract some of the cheesy sort of stereotypical horror movie kind of plays.
It’s pretty clear to see that they had a lot more money making this movie: there are a lot more special effects and the sets are definitely more detailed, but those types of things didn’t really do anything for me. None of that means anything if you have a shitty script. Sadly, that’s what happened here. In some places, the story was well put-together: particularly, Josh’s soul still being trapped in “the further,” not being able to get back to his body. That makes perfect sense and was pretty well done, but it was one of the few things that were done well.
Having too much money was kind of a silver bullet in that there were way too many specters, way too many effects, compared to the last movie, and they overdid it. It just was unnecessary in a lot of places to show the dead bodies and spirits. It detracted from the suspense, and instead went toward the horror movie staple of trying to gross you out visually. They didn’t need it in the last movie, and the last movie turned out really great without it.
Aside from a weak storyline in places, this movie really collapsed because of poor dialogue and poor narration. Too many times, it was like, “thank you for stating the obvious, but I’m not an idiot.” There were even laughable parts, and they were scenes that I don’t think we’re meant to be comic. Granted, I was sitting in a theater with a bunch of high school kids who will laugh at anything in a horror film, but there were scenes that we’re supposed to be comic relief (all of which fell flat completely), and then there were a couple other scenes that I don’t think were intended to be funny, but they were, in a slapstick vaudevillian kind of way.
As to the story, I didn’t really buy the explanation that they gave for the the old woman who’d been haunting Josh. The movie became far-fetched at that point, even though its main premise is astral projection, which is far-fetched enough for the skeptics out there. Finding the old woman’s backstory because a sort of amateur detective subplot where the ghost hunters, Carl, and Lorraine are all hunting down the history of the person who became the old woman who fixated on Josh. The more they learned, the more it became unbelievable and contrived.
**The rest of this may be spoiler filled, so you may want to skip ahead.**
Once again, they’re setting it up for another sequel. The ending scene started out well enough, but it got really out of control in about a half a minute. Even though this movie was nowhere near as good as the first one, the story for chapter three involving the ghost hunters, even with a spectral Lorraine, sounds like not a half bad idea, but in the course of a few seconds, it goes too far and makes you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit.
**Potential spoilers over. Come back and read the conclusion!**
I’m going to say three stars. I hesitate even to give it that many because I was SOOOO disappointed. This movie does not hold a candle to its predecessor. Like I said, it had some good parts, some scary, intense moments, and it did still capture the suspense to an extent in certain places, but overall, too many parts of the story and too much dialogue were just bad, to put it bluntly. It took away from the enjoyment of the movie for me.
You can decide for yourself whether or not this was a good follow-up to the first movie, but I think most of you, especially if you liked the first movie and the director’s last movie The Conjuring, will agree that this was a poor rendition of a next chapter to the story.
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