The Conjuring – Movie Review
Director James Wan has shown us through the years that his focus, dedication and relentless attempts to scare the living crap out of his audience are certainly improving. Hailed as one of the best “scare masters” in the business, Wan has introduced one of the most haunting supernatural horror films since the “The Exorcist.” The creative director is better known for scary creations “Saw,” “Dead Silence “and the wildly popular “Insidious”. This time round Wan set his sights on bringing to life a horror story that manages to encapsulate all the great things we love about some of the Horror genre favourites such as “Poltergeist,” “The Amityville Horror” and the aforementioned 70’s cult classic “The Exorcist.”
The additional twist that will send your mind racing even days after watching Wan’s latest effort is that the film’s foundation is firmly set on the true events that inspired the making of the movie.“The Conjuring” opens with a curious case that involves the haunting of a doll named Annabelle. Audiences are also introduced to the married paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) whose biggest claim to fame was the Amityville incident. The creepy doll opening served as a sub-plot which carefully trotted alongside an already terrifying storyline.
Ed and Lorraine are known as the subject matter experts in their field and lecture to rapt audiences about their experiences and often overlooked details that can be dismissed as earthly causes. Ed specializes in demonology and Lorraine is a troubled clairvoyant. She is traumatized due to a previous demon purging incident which caused her to retreat and recover from the experience.
Set in the early 70’s, the story follows Roger and Carolyn Perron (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) and their five daughters. The family move into a centuries-old house in Rhode Island. Beautiful trees surround the property overlooking a picturesque pond and green grass. It seems like a perfect place to raise a family, however the charming country house hides secrets so terrifying it will make your skin crawl for days.
The family dog refuses to enter the house, barking nervously upon their arrival at their new home. One of the daughters finds a door that leads to the basement with Roger investigating to see what is down there. Needless to say things literally go bump in the night soon after the discovery of the basement filled with unwanted belongings. Rooms are often icy cold accompanied with a foul smell as the doors randomly blow open and slam shut. The daughters fall victim to the entities wrong doing, the youngest daughter starts talking to an imaginary friend and another sleepwalks to a room with a closet (Hint: I mention the closet for a reason).
Carolyn eventually draws the attention of the Warrens who swiftly respond to investigate the matter. Bells are tied to door handles, Super 8 cameras are lined-up with motion sensor devices accompanied with UV lights. There are more than a couple of hair raising events that assist the paranormal investigators whilst utilizing their “high tech” equipment to uncover the true horrors associated with the families’ new home.
Hardcore guts and gore fans expecting a limb tearing horror film will most definitely be wondering what all the fuss is about. James Wan managed to use top notch setpieces with a steady build of suspense, while patiently leading the audience on to deliver a constant flow of thrills. The art of scare tactics seem to be lost on most horror directors these days. Wan is proving that timing, suspense, good old fashioned camera angles and lighting is key to bringing back old school horror movies.
Clocks in the house stop at 3:07 a.m, dark corners hide the devil’s minions and the anticipated queues to scare the audience are on point. One can’t argue the familiarity with previous horror film grinding away at the same song and dance.“The Conjuring” sets itself apart with Farmiga and Taylor’s stellar performance, and Wan’s unique approach. Playing hide-and-seek blindfolded after Carolyn’s experience in the basement has taken on a whole new meaning. Don’t be surprised if you imagine hearing hand clapping in the morning hours, maybe someone wants to play? Be sure not to miss this one if you enjoy suspenseful horror films.
Watch the trailer
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