Early ‘Conjuring 2’ reviews promise the rare horror sequel that doesn’t suck

The Conjuring 2 may not hit theaters until next Friday, but reviews are already trickling in for James Wan's supernatural horror sequel — and so far, it's sounding like a mostly-worthy followup to its 2013 predecessor. The only relatively consistent complaint, even among those who liked the film? At 134 minutes, it could have done with some trimming.

Here's a sampling of the critical notices so far, from most to least positive:

“This sequel might lack the delightful jolts of its predecessor, but it nonetheless maintains a slow boil of terror that”s consistently unnerving.” – Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

“James Wan, the director of “Saw” and “Insidious,” is a horror filmmaker of such screw-tightening skill that even when he makes a good old rattletrap haunted-house potboiler, it”s easy to feel a glimmer of admiration for his talent just beneath your tingling spine. (It”s his talent that makes the creaky conventions scary.)” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Lacking some of the simplicity and elegance of the first instalment, The Conjuring 2 is nonetheless a smoothly efficient horror movie, building to a powerhouse finale rooted in our emotional connection to the film”s well-drawn main characters.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

“There are some solid scares (Wan is too gifted in the dark art of gotcha manipulation to not make you leap a few times), but there”s nothing on par with the first film”s brilliant hide-and-clap scene with Lili Taylor.” – Chris Nashawaty, EW

“After Insidious and The Conjuring, director James Wan has his method down. The scares are effective and the camerawork is superb, all lurking long shots and short sharp shocks. …But there”s little here we haven”t seen before, and unless you”re willing to suspend a whole lot of disbelief, the God-bothering certainty of it all is pretty disconcerting. There”s a great, conflicted drama to be made about the Enfield case; this isn”t quite it.” – Tom Huddleston, Time Out

“But scares aren”t everything, even in horror, and “The Conjuring 2” is a freaky but often witless production that fails to stitch super-creepy scenes together into any compelling story. As it fritters away character work and ideas about faith and devotion, this is a film clever enough to scare us but not smart enough to accomplish anything more.” – Russ Fischer, The Playlist

“The Conjuring 2 is authentically frightening when it focuses on fright. But the version currently on screens feels self-indulgent and baggy, like a grab bag of ideas that needed more winnowing and a sharper focus on one or two key ideas.” – Tasha Robinson, The Verge