The second cinematic film in the Warren cinematic universe, this movie starts where other movies like The Amityville Horror take hours to show. Yes, the Warrens really did go to 112 Ocean Avenue. The jury is, however, out as to whether Lorraine had a vision of the murders, followed the ghost of one of the Lutz children into the basement and then met Valak the Nun, who would go on to be in her own series of movies.
The ghost boy is based on the infamous Amityville photo — you know the one, it wasn’t shown until years later when the first movie was on its PR tour.
The movie then moves on to another paranormal case, the Enfield haunting of 1977. Janet Hodgson — while sleepwalking — would speak in the voice of an angry elderly man. The Warrens are determined to save her and her family, while Lorraine is concerned that Ed will be killed.
In addition to introducing the Nun character, this movie also has an appearance by the Crooked Man, who will obviously soon get his own Conjuring universe movie, alongside Annabelle (Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, Annabelle Comes Home) and La Llorona (The Curse of La Llorona).
I was happy to see Franka Potente in a movie. She was such a force in Run Lola Run and its a shame she isn’t in more movies. Here, she plays Anita Gregory, a real-life scientist who was a member of the Society for Psychical Research that investigated the Enfield Haunting.
This was directed by James Wan, who always adds a layer of sheen and class to his horror proceedings. He’s learned a ton since the Saw films and hey — I even like his silly slasher film, Dead Silence. It was written by the team of Wan, David Leslie Johnson (Aquaman, Orphan) and the twin writing team of Chad and Carey Hayes. Interestingly enough, Chad was in Death Spa in his younger days.
I also love the art direction in the Conjuring films. The Warren’s study is filled with mystical artifacts from their many adventures, like the golden upside-down skull from Vice Versa that caused Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage to switch bodies. There’s also a great poster of a young Joanna Lumley from Absolutely Fabulous in the girls’ room. You can also spot a poster for Exorcist II: The Heretic in the montage of England set to The Clash’s “London Calling.”
Also, just so there’s no debate, beyond being a possession movie, an Amityville movie and a movie about situations based on real-life events, this is also a Christmas movie!
BONUS: You can listen to us discuss this movie on our podcast.