“The Conjuring” stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson reunite with Wan for another chilling chapter from the Warren case files
In 1970, the Warrens battled a malevolent presence that permeated a remote farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island—a case brought to the screen in 2013 in Wan’s hugely successful “The Conjuring.” Then came the most highly publicized case of their careers, Amityville, which would nearly destroy them.
This summer, writer/director/producer James Wan seeks to terrify moviegoers once again with his depiction of another highly publicized case involving the real-life horrors experienced by paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren with “The Conjuring 2.”
It’s late 1977 when, with the effects of Long Island still haunting them, the Warrens come out of a self-imposed sabbatical and travel to northern London to take on a vile demonic entity that has taken root in the home of the Hodgson family, in the populous borough of Enfield. What is thought by many to be a hoax will become the most documented case in paranormal history.
“Everything Ed and Lorraine have been through since we met them in the first film has been leading up to Enfield,” Wan states. “Out of the repertoire of cases they investigated over their lifetime, Enfield is one of the most compelling…and frightening. It’s also one of the most interesting in that in many ways it is a reflection of the Amityville haunting, so in the film we touch on that as well.”
Returning in their roles as Lorraine and Ed are Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. “It was really joyful for me to step into Lorraine Warren’s Mary Janes and sprint another 20 miles,” Farmiga smiles. “It requires you to bring your A+ game, but James really knows our ins and outs and how to reach us, and I think Patrick and I were even more confident and relaxed this time around.”
“I believe in the story and the world of the Warrens,” Wan says, “and the opportunity to expand on their world with Vera and Patrick and bring this particular story to audiences was super exciting for me.”
Wilson affirms, “There was not one part of this story that felt like we were retreading old ground; we were pushing ourselves to do something different, while still giving the audience the elements that made the first film work, and that was really important to me.”
Producer Peter Safran felt that the Enfield scenario provided a natural successor to the story in the first film, due in part to its being “one of the best-known examples of documented supernatural possession, but also because the circumstances would allow us to make sure the film had a dissimilar look and feel from the first. 1977 London—the miners’ strikes were going on, it was the birth of the punk movement—was a really different environment for the Warrens.”
Another element unique to this story, producer Rob Cowan notes, “was the skepticism that surrounded these events. Were these things really happening? Police were involved, reporters, photographers…it got to be a bit of a circus after awhile, with the amount of people that were going in there, talking about it. There was even a ventriloquist checking out whether or not the young girl was throwing her voice.”
Further outlining the contrast from the first film, Wan says, “‘The Conjuring’ geography was intimate, a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, and this one takes place in council housing in a big city, so the neighbors are close by, there’s traffic. Just by the nature of the setting the people around it are more exposed to what’s happening in this house.”
But perhaps the most frightening peculiarity seen in “The Conjuring 2” is that this time, the family aren’t the only ones the possessing entity focuses on…whatever it is, it attacks the Warrens directly, too, causing both Ed and Lorraine to fear for each other as well as for the Hodgsons.
Releases on June 10, 2016