Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, stars of the upcoming horror film "The Conjuring 2," have revealed how the love and shared Christian faith between their characters, Ed and Lorraine Warren, enabled them to fight the powers of darkness.
The sequel, which opens in theaters Friday, follows on the heels of James Wan's box office blockbuster "The Conjuring," the 2013 horror movie that raked in $319 million worldwide.
Set in 1977, "The Conjuring 2" follows the real-life case of single mother Peggy Hodgson (Frances O'Connor) and her four children living in Enfield, London. The family begins to experience terrifying events in the house that soon are labeled the acts of a poltergeist, including loud banging, mysterious voices, and furniture that moves on its own. Even worse - Peggy's pre-teen daughter, Janet, (Madison Wolfe) appears to be possessed by the ghost of an old man that previously lived in their house.
Terrified, Peggy reaches out to Ed and Lorraine Warren, a young married couple well known for devoting their lives to paranormal investigative work. Motivated by their faith in God and commitment to one another, Ed and Lorraine are "demonologists" who use their gifts to help families plagued by sinister forces.
Written by Christian screenwriters Chad and Carey Hayes, "The Conjuring 2" establishes the Warrens as the heart of the film and focuses on how their love for one another provides them with the strength to fight supernatural forces.
"The bottom line, is this is a story about the Warrens, and that is a love story," Farmiga said during a film junket attended by The Gospel Herald and other reporters last Saturday. "That was an ordained coupling, and we want to represent that. I think that was so lovely to see [in the first 'Conjuring'] and we wanted to expand on that in the second. I think it was vital in representing this couple and their dynamic and who they were to each other...They believed in the power of healing, they believed in the power of prayer."
As in the previous film, Ed is depicted as the brains behind the investigation who uses various gadgets and his knowledge of Scripture to help rid the house of evil spirits. Throughout the film, he wears a crucifix around his neck reflective of his Catholic faith.
Wilson said: "I wanted to get to the core of who Ed was, which was a very devout Catholic who would do everything practical and pragmatic to dispel any evil spells ... and wanted to exhaust every other reason for there being something bad happening to whatever ... case they were involved in."
In turn, Lorraine is a clairvoyant who believes her talents are a gift from God despite its draining effects on her mental, physical, and even spiritual health. She is depicted as kind, serene woman who is steadfast in her faith despite opposition from the outside world.
"Using your gift always comes with challenges, but I think with her - if you ask Lorraine about it, dealing with negative mysticism and the macabre, devilry, negativity - absolutely took a toll on her psyche, on her body, on her emotions, and on her family life," Farmiga said. "But she knew that in her mind, that she was put on this earth compatible with Ed for a compassionate mission and knowing that, she's so steadfast in that ordainment. The by-product of fear and of tiredness and anger sometimes was just - she had no choice in the fact. It was something that was meant to be."
While "The Conjuring 2" is packed with plenty of scares (it's rated R for terror and horror violence), it provides moviegoers with the opportunity to talk about the reality of good and evil, of faith and of God.
"The movie is unapologetically spiritual and specifically Catholic," Wilson said. "I love the conversation. I'm fascinated by any spiritual movie that opens the conversation, and I love that we can do it in this genre."
He added, "[With 'The Conjuring'], we had a lot of Christian press, and that was really rewarding to me, because you don't set out to do a movie like, 'We really want to appeal to this group,' you don't do that. But the fact that different groups can respond to it really says a lot, because ... the cornerstone of who [the Warrens] were was their faith. That's exciting to play because it is so tangible for them."