The Conjuring 2: Review by Holly Bareham

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Okay, so this film has been advertised for absolutely ages now and I’m sure every horror fan has been looking forward to it. I hadn’t seen the first ‘The Conjuring’ film at the cinema when it was released because the trailer looked too scary and it was around the time I was just starting to like horror films so I saw it a couple of years later on DVD. Me and my friends had found it pretty scary but to be fair we were in the house by ourselves at night. To be honest, after all the hype it was a little underwhelming considering there were apparently bottles of holy water being handed out at the cinema and people were reporting supernatural incidents in their own home occurring after watching the film. To me, it was just an ordinary horror film.

‘The Conjuring 2’ is about a different case from Ed and Lorraine Warren’s files, The Enfield Haunting. In 1977 a family in Enfield find themselves terrorised by what appears to be a poltergeist who seems to be specifically targeting the second eldest child, Janet Hodgson. Ed and Lorraine get involved to find out if their story is genuine or if they’re making it up for publicity.

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Personally, I really enjoyed this film. I thought it kept a creepy atmosphere, the characters were believable, the plot wasn’t completely stupid. However, like most films, there were also things I didn’t like about it. Obviously I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone but ‘The Crooked Man’, although creepy, didn’t look very realistic and took away from the atmosphere a little. However, after doing research on iMDB, the Crooked Man was played by Javier Botet, the same person that played Mama and apparently there was no CGI or animation. I think I’m gonna have to watch this film again to get a better look…

Another thing that bugs me a little is the slight stimulatory to ‘Insidious’, which was also directed by James Wan. This paragraph contains slight spoilers. The first time is during the opening scene in the ‘Amityville Haunting’ when Lorraine sees a boy with eerie eyes on the staircase. He looks remarkably similar to the boy on the cover of the ‘Insidious’ poster. However, the boy on the staircase was based on a real-life photograph taken at the real home in Amityville so that’s fair enough. The other was that the nun demon harassing Lorraine looks too similar to the ghost haunting the family in ‘Insidious’, but Wan explains his decision for this in several interviews. It probably doesn’t help that Patrick Wilson stars in both of them.

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Other than those small points though I did enjoy the film. It had a decent storyline, there were some references to the first film which was nice, also the references to the real Enfield haunting were nice too. Best of all though it was scary. Nothing quite like a decent scary movie.

Before I end this review I need to leave a quick fun fact which I like to do with my horror reviews so here you go: on the first day of shooting a priest was brought in to bless the set. Nice.

Basically, I’d recommend this for any horror film fan, especially if you liked the original film. You know how sometimes the original film is really good but for some reason the sequel is a train wreck? Not the case here, thankfully.

The Boy: Review by Holly Bareham

The Boy

I’m long overdue on several reviews including The Other Side of the Door and The Witch but I’m going to write this one first and I’ll explain why in a second. I’m pretty sure I have a book review to write as well… I will get round to all of this, I’m just having a bit of a writer’s block at the moment!

Just so you guys know, I’m thinking of writing a spoiler version of this review soon so be sure to look out for that but I’ll try and get my other reviews out first…

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So I have been driving my friends crazy about this film for the past couple of months. I saw the trailer on Facebook ages ago and I have been counting down the days until its release. You would honestly not believe how mad I was going for this film. When it finally arrived in cinemas I was prepared to be disappointed. That might sound daft but after imagining this film for months and months, the anticipation, the build-up, even if the film was good it surely wouldn’t meet my expectations?

I’m so glad I was wrong.

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For anyone who hasn’t seen the trailer, ‘The Boy’ is about an American woman named Greta who comes to England to be a nanny for a wealthy families eight year old son. When she arrives she’s shocked to find that the eight year old boy is a doll that the family treats as if he’s alive. However, when the parents leave she starts experiencing a supernatural presence and starts to believe that maybe the doll is really alive after all.

I’ve seen a lot of people comparing this film to Annabelle, which I wrote a review about a while ago, and I think the two films are completely different. ‘Annabelle’ barely felt like it was about the actual doll whereas ‘The Boy’ is definitely centred on Brahms (the doll). I wasn’t too impressed with ‘Annabelle’ whereas I found ‘The Boy’ to be everything I love about a horror film: atmospheric, creepy and my personal favourite, an amazing plot twist.

I’m gonna talk more about the plot twist in my spoiler review, assuming I write it, because obviously I don’t want to give anything away but I honestly did not see it coming. I went with two friends, one didn’t see the twist coming, the other kind of guessed it but wasn’t sure. However, when the reveal came, all three of us were honestly terrified – I was holding hands with one of them. I’ve been reading through the iMDB forums as I do and a lot of people have been complaining that the plot twist ruined the entire film but I completely disagree. I think it was the best, most reasonable ending it could’ve possibly had. But again, I’ll talk more about that in my spoiler version.

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One thing I hate in a horror film is when they include random jump scares that aren’t even necessary to the plot. Now, while The Boy did this I feel like their jump scares were almost a foreshadowing of what was going to happen so I can forgive them. There was one jump scare that really terrified me – I admit that I jump a lot in horror films but this one really got me, my heart was pounding for a full five minutes afterwards.

Anyway, I cannot stress to you how good I thought this film was and I urge you not to listen to the negative reviews and just judge the film for yourself. Before watching it I was told by my Mom “It has really bad reviews” to which I replied “I didn’t expect anything more”. It was honestly better than people are saying it is, just trust me!

I almost forgot my fun fact! The cast members used to prank each other with the doll until one cast member got so scared during one prank that they threw the doll out of their trailer window and a replacement had to be made. Hooray for fun facts.

Go and watch the movie!

The Forest: Review by Holly Bareham

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So I saw the trailer for this film and was told one thing by my friend – “Apparently it’s really shit.” To be honest the trailer didn’t look that bad and Natalie Dormer was starring in it so although I hadn’t thought it’d be the best film ever I was kind of surprised to hear that. I’m not one to judge a horror film based on other people’s opinions (ironic, being a reviewer) and I wouldn’t miss out on a brand new horror anyway so I went and saw it.

The basic storyline is that a woman named Sara travels from the US to Japan to look for her twin sister Jess who went into Aokighara forest, a forest in Japan that’s known for the mass amount of people who go in to commit suicide. Sara believes she can ‘feel’ that Jess is still alive so she goes into the forest to look for and is soon taunted by a supernatural presence.

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I’m gonna admit it straightaway, I did find this film scary while I was watching it. There were some good jump scares and a creepy atmosphere. If it had managed to maintain that for the entirety of the film it probably would’ve been good. However, the ending of the film suddenly became rushed and quite frankly completely stupid. Especially the last five seconds which really ruined it for me – there was no need to throw in one last jump scare, it was creepy for a second and then it was just ridiculous.

Because people kept saying the whole film was shit I was actually more impressed with it than I perhaps would’ve been if people hadn’t said anything about it all. I was expecting a complete train wreck of a film but I actually felt it was pretty decent. My only problem was that I kept imagining plot twists in my head so to reach the actual ending was kind of disappointing. I’ve seen whole theories on iMDB that Jess and Sara were actually the same person but personally, I don’t think the filmmakers put that much thought into the film for it to be possible.

Time for my fun fact: Natalie Dormer actually went to visit Aokighara forest and went five meters off the path to take pictures but her Japanese driver refused to step an inch off the path.

Overall, this film is good if you want a few scares. It’s better than Krampus but it’s definitely not the horror film of the year. On the bright side there were some trailers for other horror films and I am so looking forward to ‘The Boy’! Wait for that review!