This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
B. McCall’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I recently watched 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐶𝑜𝑛𝑗𝑢𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 2. I found it to be as good, or nearly so, as the original movie of the series/franchise. So I went into this one
optimistic for at least one more of the same, more or less. I love Farmiga, and Wilson is a fine actor himself. I didn't know John Noble was bringing his particular skills to the movie, or that young horror veteran Julian Hilliard was to play the initial possessed victim. Jeez, this kid only does warped, twisted niche or horror stuff. It's quite a hip resume he has already, including 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐻𝑎𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑓 𝐻𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝐻𝑜𝑢𝑠𝑒, which makes it less surprising to seem him here. The rest of the performances are competent if not so compelling.
Director Michael Chaves was making only his 2nd full-length movie, with the other being the poorly received 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐶𝑢𝑟𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝐿𝑎 𝐿𝑙𝑜𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑎, which seems to pale in comparison to the other recent film on the same source material. His limited experience shows in this latest Conjuring sequel with the movie being a mix of smart, perceptive moments amid formulaic, rather staid foundations. New actual case or not, there's still an awful lot of 'seen it before, now this and this will happen before this ultimate scene' going on.
No real scares for me, just a couple of well set up scenes with an instance of jarring sound or surprising cuts. Also, I found the very early scene with the obnoxious, sweaty Bruno character blaring Blondie at us to be strained and distracting; more annoying than affecting as it was meant to be. Also, if the demon can just move in a flash from point to point and slash someone's throat as it does the priest, then why doesn't it simply do that to those trying to stop it?
James Wan made the first two Conjuring films, and though he's made his share of weak films, those two were exceptions and showed what he can do with stronger material, better casts, and better production values. He was just a producer in this 3rd movie, and it shows. Chaves has real potential. I'm hoping for better stuff from him in the future. Bonus points for the Van track at the end. 2.8 stars