The echo of an unfamiliar sound roused me from my deep sleep. As my eyelids slowly parted I tried focusing on the nearly invisible shadows that stood petrified around my bedroom. With no light from the outside, I had to rely on my hearing to make sure the noise was not coming from someone who might be lurking in my room. The sound did not increase in volume; it made a popping noise followed by a short silence. I started panicking, wondering if there was anything in the room that I could use to protect myself. Slowly I rose to a sitting position, waited for several seconds then as quietly as possible stood up, hoping the floor would not groan in the process. The noise did not change as if taunting me to find it. As I slipped quietly out of the bedroom the sound got louder; it was coming from the back of the house. The shadows now more distinct, I was able to make my way to the window where I gently pushed the edge of the curtain aside so I could peer outside. Just as I had my face up to the window another popping noise pierced the quiet. Across the yard I saw one of my neighbor’s casement windows was unhinged, moving in the wind. It was the source of the noise I heard when it would slam into its frame. All the sinister culprits I had imagined quickly dispersed from my mind. Left to my own imagination I can really scare myself sometimes. That is the reason I enjoyed this thrilling horror movie from director James Wan (The Conjuring, Saw). Without blood and gore; James created scenes that did not reveal too much, building a steady tension throughout the film. Having not seen the first movie, I did not feel lost by the story line in this sequel. Josh and Renai Lambert, played by Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring, Watchmen) and Rose Byrne (28 Weeks Later, X-Men: First Class) would need outside help to combat the evil spirits that were terrorizing their son Dalton, played by Ty Simpkins (Little Children, The Next Three Days), when he slept. Even though some of their lines were a bit hokey; I thought Patrick, Rose and Barbara Hershey (Black Swan, Falling Down) as Lorraine Lambert were especially good in the acting department. Some of the scenes relied too much on the music to create impending doom; luckily, I did not find it too annoying. Now that I have seen this movie, I want to see the first one to see if it will stir up my imagination as well as this one did. A couple of brief scenes with blood in it.
2 2/3 stars
The random clicking sound became deliberate, attracting my attention. It sounded as if it was near the kitchen door. My hand slowly slid around the dining room wall, looking for the light switch before I would enter the kitchen. As the fluorescent fixture soaked the room in white light, I intently stared at the back door. The transom window was closed and what light spilled onto the back porch did not reveal anything lurking outside. A sigh of relief passed through my dry lips just as the floor behind me groaned under a sudden added weight. I spun around to a vacant room, shaken up by the noticeable sounds. Walking over to the television, I turned the sound up louder and waited for the return of my parents. You see, it was the first time I was left home alone without a babysitter. It was surprising how my imagination took those familiar sounds from my home and turned them into something sinister and threatening. That feeling of oncoming dread slithered its way throughout this thrilling film. After Carolyn and Roger Perron, played by Lili Taylor (The Haunting, High Fidelity) and Ron Livingston (The Cooler, Drinking Buddies), moved into their new home with their 5 children, unexplained incidents began to occur. When they seemed to turn aggressive, paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren, played by Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air, Source Code) and Patrick Wilson (Insidious, Watchmen), were asked to find an explanation for these hostile events. Director James Wan (Saw, Insidious) did a beautiful job of crafting an old-fashioned horror movie. The acting was formidable, especially from Vera and LIli. I was swept into the story partially because it did not use blood and gore to scare the audience; it made the viewers use their imaginations. For me, the middle of the movie played stronger compared to the beginning and end. This was a good old-time, scary film that will have you gripping your arm rests. A couple of brief scenes had blood in them.