(HBO MAX/Netflix/VOD) I’m not big on possession films (although I have seen, and enjoyed, most of THE EXORCIST films) and I have no love for the pristine, far-too-clean look of most mainstream modern horror movies, including THE CONJURING films, but THE CONJURING 2 really impressed me. Its camerawork, blocking, production design, and visual scene construction are absolutely fantastic, plus I can’t help but adore seeing a loving, middle-aged couple on-screen.

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson do a lot of the leg work that make these films work. While their characters don’t break any gender norms — he’s very obviously the muscle and she’s the empath — it’s a welcome change from the world-weary, loner protagonist. (That said, I don’t have any interest in discussing the real-life analogues, either them, or the cases they seek out.)

I’ll note that I don’t quite understand why this is a film franchise eight films deep. (Also, I haven’t watched the side-films, such as THE NUN or ANNABELLE.) This feels like it should be TV series, even down to the haunted item collection. (See: FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE SERIES or WAREHOUSE 13.) FOX turned THE EXORCIST into a brilliant TV anthology series (although it’s a shame no one tuned in to watch so it only lasted two seasons). Film or TV, THE CONJURING 2 is an entrancing work and, while it could have been tightened up a bit — seriously, possession films do not need to run over two hours — it does indulge in some very fun-but-frivolous scenes that I quite enjoyed, such as Patrick Wilson recreating an Elvis song.