Movie Review: The Conjuring 2 is best when it sticks to the basics

First, the all-important question: Is The Conjuring 2 scary? Like, jump out of your seat, watch through your outstretched fingers scary? The answer to that is “yes.” Under James Wan’s direction, even the most clichéd haunted-house tropes (and this movie is bursting with them) are genuinely creepy, and although the movie isn’t overly reliant on jump scares, the ones it does use—well, they work. On a lizard-brain level, The Conjuring 2 taps into the universal childhood fear of the dark, and some of its simplest moments—like a little girl hiding under the covers with a flashlight—are its most effective, bolstered by skillfully executed sound design and Don Burgess’ gloomy cinematography.

Speaking of tropes, that’s where the “based on a true story” bit comes in. The main plot of the film revolves around a real-life incident known as the Enfield Poltergeist, an extremely well-documented case …

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