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Ghost in my house; Movies.

Byline: With DAVID EDWARDS

CONJURING 2

Cert 15, Running time 134mins

****

If there's something strange... in your neighbourhood... who you gonna call? The Warrens! If you wanna make a hoax... look like a real haunt... who you gonna call? The Warrens!

After the ghostbusters' real-life exploits scared up a mighty PS225million at the boxoffice with part one, the psychic investigating couple return for another horror that's big on scares but light on facts. The Warrens ain't 'fraid of no ghosts - nor, as it turns out, any opportunity at grabbing some free publicity.

The follow-up, based on a true hoax - sorry, story - revolves around the Enfield Poltergeist that plagued a North London home and became known as England's Amityville. As headlines spread across the world, Ed and Lorraine Warren - self-styled 'demonologists' - flew in to investigate.

The scares start in 1977 at a run-down semi inhabited by Peggy Hodgson (Frances O'Connor) with nocturnal banging noises, eerie reflections on the TV screen and weird, disembodied whisperings spooking her and four children.

Things take a turn for the worse when furniture starts moving on its own, her two daughters are tossed from their beds and an old man's voice is heard telling them to get out of his house.

Meanwhile, in New York, the Warrens, again played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, fresh from conducting a seance in the Amityville house, hop on a plane to Heathrow to lend their help/get into the newspapers.

Director James Wan, who directed the first film in 2013, and who was behind Insidious three years earlier, relies heavily on orchestral shrieks and prosthetics to get his scares across but scores points for spending time sketching his characters, meaning you start to care about what's happening to them.

The Hodgson's house, a crumbling pile of almost Dickensian squalor, makes an appropriately gloomy setting for the chills while the identity and motivations of the spook living inside is gently teased out.

And note that lengthy running time. This is no 90-minute knock-off but a meaty and involved haunted house shocker.

The period details are also noteworthy, from the David Soul posters adorning the walls of the Hodgson girls' bedroom to some very bad British teeth to The Goodies playing on a background telly.

Not that Wan lets the truth get in the way of a good story. While great play is made of the Warrens investigating Amityville (the date of which the film gets wrong) and Enfield at the behest of church authorities, you can guess for yourself why these authorities are never named.

So if you think your house is haunted, Lorraine Warren is in the phone book - and there may be a movie deal in it for you shortly afterwards.

THE REEL LOWDOWN

BEST QUOTE: "This is as close to hell as I ever want to get." Lorraine Warren prepares to flee Amityville.

BEST BIT: Scary and atmospheric.

WORST BIT: Cynically presents fiction as fact.

IF YOU LIKED... Sinister, Insidious, The Haunting In Connecticut...

YOU'LL LIKE THIS THE

CAPTION(S):

SPOOKED: Frances O'Connor

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 17, 2016
Words:507
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