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The Conjuring 2: Sequel lacking magic touch of original

By Damon Smith

In 1976, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) visit the Amityville house where Ronald DeFeo Jr was convicted of killing six members of his family. "This is as close to hell as I ever want to get," sobs Lorraine after she enters a trance to relive the tragic night.

The Warrens go into self-imposed exile to devote more time to their teenage daughter, Judy (Sterling Jerins). The church compels the Warrens to return to active service to investigate claims from a terrified single mother, Peggy Hodgson (Frances O'Connor), that her house in Enfield is in the grip of a dark force. Ed and Lorraine travel to rain-swept England to interview Peggy and her four children, Margaret (Lauren Esposito), Janet (Madison Wolfe), Billy (Benjamin Haigh) and Johnny (Patrick McAuley).

When youngest daughter Janet exhibits signs of demonic possession, Ed and Lorraine battle with the lingering phantom of an old man (Bob Adrian) for the Hodgsons' souls. The Conjuring 2 feels overlong and lacks the tight emotional bond of the first film's besieged family.

Benevolent King Osiris (Bryan Brown) is poised to crown his self-doubting son, Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the new ruler of Egypt in front of an adoring throng, including his wife Isis (Rachael Blake) and Horus' lover, Hathor (Elodie Yung), the goddess of love.

At the last minute, Osiris' jealous brother Set (Gerard Butler) gatecrashes the ceremony, murders the old king and seizes the throne. "Behold the fate of those who stand in my way," bellows Set, who demands that gods and mortals bow before him. Horus attempts to avenge his father, but Set is too powerful and rips out his nephew's eyes. Humble pickpocket Bek (Brenton Thwaites) and slave girl sweetheart Zaya (Courtney Eaton) set forth to overthrow Set by stealing back Horus' peepers.

The plan goes tragically awry and Bek enters into a dangerous pact with Horus to complete his mission, aided by the rightful king's grandfather, Ra (Geoffrey Rush), who shoots fiery bolts from his watchtower in the heavens.

Gods Of Egypt is a morass of oiled pecs, posturing and tiresome showdowns between exiled heroes and otherworldly creatures.

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