Christian screenwriters Chad and Carey Hayes have revealed that the New Testament book of Ephesians served as a tremendous source of encouragement and inspiration as they penned the script for the upcoming supernatural horror flick "The Conjuring 2."
Opening in theaters on June 10, the sequel to the wildly popular 2013 film "The Conjuring" follows real-life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) as they travel to Enfield, England, in the late 1970s to take on one of the most terrifying paranormal investigations of their career.
At the behest of the Catholic Church, the couple attempts to help single mother Peggy Hodgson (played by Frances O'Connor) and her four children - particularly 11-year-old Janet - as they struggle to survive in a house haunted by something dark and sinister.
While the "Enfield Poltergeist" case is the most documented in paranormal history, it's never been told from the perspective of Ed and Lorraine Warren - until now. Throughout the film, the Christian couple relies on their faith and knowledge of Scripture as the demonic entity focuses on terrorizing not just the Hodgson family, but the Warrens as well.
During a press junket with The Gospel Herald and other reporters this past Saturday, the Hayes brothers revealed that while writing the script, they were inspired by Ephesians 6:12 - "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world" - and Ephesians 6:13 - "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."
"We embrace this type of movie because I think what it reflects is our faith in Ed and Lorraine's faith without being preachy," Carey said. "When you watch Christian movies, it's always so over the top. We never started out saying, 'We're doing a faith-based movie' at all. We just started out writing Ed and Lorraine, who are really strong in their faith, which, when you're battling evil in the 70's, you didn't have infrared, you didn't have the sound system. The only tool they had - the sharpest tool they had - was their faith and how that could become a triumph of good over evil."
"That was something Lorraine was so adamant about," Chad added. "We found that so incredibly powerful.
The Warren's faith is one of the major themes in the film and gives them the strength needed to battle the supernatural: In one scene, Lorraine refers to her ability as a "gift from God" that allows her to see and understand the "unseen". Religious imagery is also sprinkled throughout the film, as Lorraine is shown reading the Bible, while Ed wears a crucifix around his neck that he has had since he was a child.
The Hayes brothers revealed that their own faith allowed them to empathize with Ed and Lorraine as they attempted to help the Hodgson family despite opposition from those who believed the claims surrounding Enfield were part of an elaborate hoax.
"Lorraine, early on when we met her...told us, 'Ed and I made a deal that we weren't going to let what other people think or do interfere with us because our truth is with God, and God knows the truth," Chad said.
In the first "Conjuring" movie, the Warren couple helped a family whose house had been troubled by different kinds of demonic spirits, which turned out to have been owned originally by a witch. The film experienced tremendous success, making more than $319 million worldwide and still remains the second highest grossing original horror movie of all time.
The Hayes brothers revealed that they looked extensively through the Warrens' case files to find the best fit for the sequel. When they landed on the Enfield Poltergeist case, which unfolded after the Warrens were involved in the high-profile Amityville horror case, they knew they'd found the perfect storyline.
"The [Conjuring] was so much fun, and the opportunity to do it again was incredibly challenging, because if it's not as good or better, don't do it, cuz you'll be shooting yourself in the foot," Carey said.
Added Chad, "It was really fun, and actually deciding on the Enfield case kind of came around full circle because we knew that we wanted to have Ed and Lorraine at a time where Amityville was a big part of their life. It changed who they were as people because they were being accused of being...charlatans. And Enfield is the equivalent of the Amityville case over in England, because this family was accused of the same thing. It allowed parallel storytelling on an emotional level...and how you handle that intrinsically."
The film is rated "R" for terror and horror violence, and provides plenty of scares not suitable for the faint of heart. However, the Hayes brothers believe the film will resonate with the faith-based audience, as its themes of good triumphing over evil and "helping thy neighbor" reflect biblical truth.
"The Conjuring 2" is directed by James Wan and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. You can watch the trailer here.