At The Movies With Javid #33

You’ve probably guessed from the complete lack of movie reviews in recent times that I haven’t been to the cinema in ages. Let’s face it – with Netflix, Stan (and yes, even sooky Presto) and the wonderful world of torrents – who the hell needs to?

For some reason, I did.

The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist

"Sorry Padre, take off my what?"

“Sorry father, take off my what?”

Some pretext: I dismissed this franchise as the usual popular horror jump-scare-and-not-much-else fest that most successful horror movies seem to be, without even viewing it. Then I watched the first one – on my couch, alone, in the dark, with headphones on and slightly drunk (the way I view most scary movies these days). It was an immersive experience that brought feelings of excitement, dread, fear and joy all in one. It was great. I changed my mind about the franchise that instant. The first Conjuring film is good.

Before attending this movie, at the cinema, on opening weekend (a STUPID idea in hindsight), I spent time trying to remember the last time I witnessed a ‘horror’ film in a movie theatre.

The answer turned out to be 2003, when myself and some friends decided to catch House of 1,000 Corpses for little other reason than Rob Zombie’s involvement. The movie was sparsely-attended and by the end of it the only people remaining in the audience were myself and Dean (yeah, that guy). It was a pretty shit movie, but without a plethora of morons surrounding me (although Dean was there) I was able to come to that conclusion by myself, based on the film’s merits (or lack of).

Perhaps that was my biggest mistake with The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist – going to see it in a theatre packed with deadshits who were trying to seal the deal with pretty girls they weren’t impressing and smartasses who completely destroyed any opportunity for atmosphere with their own alleged hilarity. This is my fault, and I willingly take the blame. Why couldn’t anyone have had a publicity-boosting heart attack like that bloke in India?

Aaanyway, onto the movie itself.

Like the first one, it starts off with a separate tale that recurs in this one. Like the first one, it’s about a family living in a run-down house with too many kids who begin being tormented by some kind of supernatural entity. Like the first one, the Warrens are drawn in to investigate. Like the first one, musical children’s toys play of their own accord, two sisters sharing a room have some freaky moments, and there’s a basement where some creepy shit also happens.

To be honest, this is the first time I’ve really thought about it, and the two films REALLY DO have a shitload in common – but is the sequel like the first one but just with British accents? Kind of.

But is it as scary/tense as the original?

At times, but it’s hard to tell with the atmosphere I chose to view it in. There are some great, suspenseful moments, there are some brilliantly executed jump-scares that lull you into a false sense of security before throwing themselves at you completely off-guard – and that’s half the fun I guess, but I need more.

There are also things this film could have done without, like THE COMEDY RELIEF. What I consider crucial to a good ‘horror’ or even ‘suspense’ film these days (and they’re few and far between) is that you don’t have to have some beautifully crafted discomfort completely broken by a wise-ass line that’s completely irrelevant. When it comes to horror, bleak and dread are good, embrace it! You should be mentally fatiguing your audience without any real respite apart, and certainly not with comedy. I already had enough stupidity in the seats around me, why did the movie have to take their side as well?

Then there were the Warrens themselves. In the first film they’re a loving couple, but somewhat believable, honest characters you can empathise with (a bit). In the sequel their love is overplayed to the extent of being nauseating and they’ve practically become shallow archetypes, which is more disappointing when you consider they’re supposed to be real people. Where the film suffers most is in these key characters (although the children aren’t too bad), who are let down by a script that feels the need to explain everything beyond any necessary point and throw in a few punch-lines to lighten the mood. There are some true displays of stupidity by our protagonists, too. SPOILER ALERT (but not a big one): Wife looks at husbands painting of a demon she’s seen but he doesnt know about. Demon wants him dead. She says NOTHING about it AT ALL until over an hour later. Why wouldn’t you mention it IMMEDIATELY? Fucking stupid.

Would be scarier if it didn't look like Marilyn Manson

Would be scarier if it didn’t look like Marilyn Manson

The ending? I won’t spoil it, but it also suffers compared to the first. The climax is great, as you would expect from someone like James Wan, but where the first film ends quickly and leaves you with little but a feeling of relief, the second gives you a few minutes of happily ever after bullshit and enough cheese to give you IBS to completely negate any lingering fear. If you see this movie, and enjoy it, turn it off or leave as soon as the final morning comes, because sticking around will leave a sour taste in your mouth.

There are some fantastic trippy moments and cinematography, but then there are also CGI moments (none in the first, from what I can remember), which turn the potentially scary to the almost comical.

For the most part The Conjuring 2 does the horror bits well (although not as well as the first), but it’s the bits in between that are the most terrifying because they seriously damage the credibility of a franchise that had started out so strong. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a decent movie, but it falls far shorter of the first than the reviews would have you believe.

Maybe I should have just downloaded it – not because of the extortionate movie prices (and they really are), but because of the dipshits you have to immerse yourself in these days just to have a cinema experience. Yeah, I’m going back to torrents. 6/10

X-Men: Apocalypse

This movie also validates my point about not going to cinemas, but in this case it’s because I WOULD NEVER PAY IN EXCESS OF $20 TO WATCH THIS GARBAGE.

Remember when the X-Men movies were good? It stopped not long after the second one. After watching the latest instalment, I stand by that hypothesis resolutely. This latest chapter features Ancient Egypt, the young X-Men (who annoy me anyway) and has the oversimplified moral of ‘working together is better than going it alone’ – not that we didn’t learn this from any of the other ones.

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They’ve already started the next one

There’s also so much green screen that it could probably be classified as an animated movie. It’s comparable to Transformers – and if you’ve ever read any of my movie reviews you know that’s NOT a good thing. If you go and see this at the movies you’ve got no one to blame but yourself. 2/10

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