In case you haven't noticed yet, I'm a card-carrying skeptic, through and through. Before I saw The Conjuring I would have gladly forgotten The Warrens existed at all. In a piece of fantasy, however, the characters are fascinating. Years ago, as mentioned in the first film, Vera Farmiga's Lorraine Warren had a premonition so terrifying, she refused to tell her husband (Patrick Wilson's Ed Warren) what she saw in it. I would have preferred it if The Conjuring 2 kept her vision a mystery, but this time around they spill the beans. Their reason for doing so, however, induces a feeling of dread which helps drive this sequel.
Bill's not the only presence at play here. The kids own a creepy old zoetrope. The spindly figure it depicts sometimes vanishes from the toy altogether, only to reappear creeping around the house in a mixture of CGI and stop-motion effects. It's the best visual of the entire movie. Hell, it's probably the best visual in any horror movie in years. Meanwhile the kids sing a nursery rhyme about this character, calling him the crooked man. (This is apparently a real-life nursery rhyme.)
Finally, there's the demonic nun who seems unrelated to the London house, but frequently torments Lorraine. The demon is, disappointingly, a shoe-in for Marilyn Manson, which may be a case of director James Wan showing his age. And if this sounds like the movie is getting a little too overloaded with villains, I would have to agree. They should have kept the crooked man and dumped the Marilyn Manson lookalike altogether.
When The Conjuring 3 comes out I'll be the first in line.