A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Conjuring 2 is the sequel to 2013's hit horror movie The Conjuring and is also based on real-life ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). There's some bloody violence, open wounds, and gun shots, but the main issue is just how extremely scary it is. There are lots of jump-shock moments as ghosts and demons attack humans, throwing furniture around, biting, burning faces with steam, and attempting to strangle them. Language is infrequent but includes "ass," "damn," "hell," and "butt." Pre-teen girls are caught smoking at school (only one actually smokes), while adults are shown smoking on other occasions. Pints of beer are seen on a table in a pub. A boy with a stutter is bullied at school; later, his experience is referred to during an explanation of why it's important to stand up to bullies. Horror fans who loved the original will definitely want to see this, as it's a cut above the normal horror fare.
What's the story?
Several years after the events of The Conjuring, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) become involved with the famous Amityville haunting, which makes them famous. Not long after that -- despite the fact that Lorraine is haunted by foreboding visions -- they agree to investigate a possible possession in Enfield, England. A young girl named Janet (Madison Wolfe) has been channeling the ghost of an old man, and the spirit has been wreaking havoc on Janet's family -- including her single mom (Frances O'Connor) and her three siblings. But despite witnessing some scary paranormal events, Ed and Lorraine are unable to establish any hard proof. Not even the clairvoyant Lorraine can sense anything. Is it a hoax or merely a diversion?
Is it any good?
While this very scary sequel is a bit on the long side, director James Wan is at the top of his game, taking a great idea and turning it into a rare, thoughtful chiller that ponders the metaphysical. It was evident in the original The Conjuring that the Warrens would make great "ghostbuster"-type characters for any number of sequels, and The Conjuring 2 has delivered on that promise. Farmiga and Wilson have made their husband-wife team interesting, engaging, and worth following into any haunted place.
Meanwhile, Wan has turned into an astounding genre director, perhaps the best of his generation, displaying a powerful grasp of visual space, rhythms, and sounds that deserves comparison with John Carpenter and Wes Craven. Even though The Conjuring 2 is quite long (133 minutes), it never overstays its welcome. Best of all, the "true story" aspect demands that viewers ask questions about the world we live in; how much do we really know to be true?
Talk to your kids about ...
How scary is the movie? What are the scariest parts? What's the difference between jump-scares and other kinds of scares? Does a movie have to be violent to be scary?
How does the "based on a true story" aspect affect the movie? Do you believe that this scary stuff, or something like it, actually happened?
Are the Warrens role models? How do they help the people who reach out ot them?
How does the film address the topic of bullying? Why is it important to stand up for those being bullied?
- In theaters: June 10, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: September 13, 2016
- Cast: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Frances O'Connor
- Director: James Wan
- Studios: Warner Bros., New Line Cinema
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 133 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: terror and horror violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.