In 1977, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren come out of a self-imposed sabbatical and travel to London, England, where overwhelmed single mother Peggy Hodgson believes that something evil is in her home. When Peggy's youngest daughter starts showing signs of demonic possession, Ed and Lorraine attempt to help the...more
In 1977, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren come out of a self-imposed sabbatical and travel to London, England, where overwhelmed single mother Peggy Hodgson believes that something evil is in her home. When Peggy's youngest daughter starts showing signs of demonic possession, Ed and Lorraine attempt to help the besieged girl only to find themselves targeted by the malicious spirits. less
“Scary enough to keep your heart pumped all the way, just not enough to match the impact of its original.”
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There’s so much noise in the movie, so much screaming and screeching sounds of people being dragged by ghosts and across the rooms and through the ceilings and what not, it’s almost as if the movie double-dares you to try and not pay attention to it. What it doesn’t manage is to give you a solid reason to keep yourself invested, but it’s the kind of junk that’s designed for an utterly disposable theatrical viewing, and a theatrical viewing only: on a smaller screen and a less immersive sound system, there’s little of worth here. Director James Wan resorts to standard horror tropes, like zooming in very close on a character when their eyes are closed and then the character suddenly opens their eyes and the movie underscores that with a very loud thud. There’s also a fair bit of humour injected in scenes of great tension, and while most of lines that are meant to be comedy don’t stick, one is forced to consider the possibility that the movie may be laughing at itself. Consider this: the film features two of the dumbest ghosts I’ve ever seen, ghosts who would rather fool around scaring an 11 year old girl by making the TV remote control vanish or playing hide-and-seek with a psychic by hiding behind their own portrait (yes, the film features a portrait of a ghost.) At one, point, a character literally tells the ghost to stop goofing around and get down to business. And then suddenly the movie pulls the rug under our feet by revealing that one ghost has been enslaved by another, much superior ghost; suddenly getting us to sympathize with the former. How cool. Wan throws in fun stuff like a zoetrope which the ghost likes to play with when it’s not hiding under water or a dog who transmogrifies into a monster resembling The Mask. It all makes for a positively drunk mishmash of zany ideas, but the film doesn’t aim higher than just giving you extremely basic scares. Did the design really have to be so generic, so afraid to stray from the genre rulebook? It feels like a movie that could and should have blown up the craziness up to a point where the genre conventions burst, but it’s too tame, too concerned with the franchise checkboxes for its own good. It’s got ideas, but it doesn’t do much with it than cram them into a hollow exercise in jump scares.