‘The Conjuring’ is a classically styled horror movie which instills a palpable sense of dread while evoking some genuine scares.
Ironic that such an “old school” feeling from a modern horror film would come from director James Wan, who introduced the “torture porn” style of scary movie with his feature ‘Saw’ in 2004.
Wan has created an intriguing and genuinely frightening film with ‘The Conjuring.’
“Based on a true story” is becoming cliché in horror films, but in this case it happens to be true. Wan, along with screenwriters Chad and Carey Hayes, has taken a case from America’s first celebrity ghostbusters and created an entertaining film that could easily become a franchise.
Ed and Lorraine Warren were called upon to investigate suspicious occurrences at a Rhode Island home in 1971. The Perron’s, owners of the farm home, began to experience increasingly invasive disruptions of their lives from an unseen force.
Roger and Carolyn Perron (played by Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) are the loving parents of five daughters who have just recently moved into a house purchased through a bank auction. Not aware of the home’s history, the family is initially surprised and dismissive of some of the “quirks” found in their new home.
Once the presence within the home begins to violently interact with the family, Carolyn Perron seeks out help in the form of the Warrens.
Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) reluctantly accept the request to investigate the Perron’s home. Lorraine Warren, a clairvoyant, is immediately alerted to a dark demonic presence within the house. While her husband Ed, a Vatican-approved Demonologist, conducts a scientific examination of the home, Lorraine’s psychic impressions intensify as she spends more time there.
As the Warren’s make clear their intentions to “cleanse” the Perron home from the demonic presence, the malignant spirits themselves become increasingly aggressive and violent.
To reveal more about ‘The Conjuring’ would be to say too much. Part of the enjoyment in watching the film came from the organic way in which it unfolded. The development of the relationships between the characters is a large part of why ‘The Conjuring’ works so well.
There are no obvious reasons as to why the film received an “R” rating. There is limited profanity, scant amounts of bloodshed, and no sexual content. The “R” can only be for one good reason; this movie must have scared the pants off of the ratings review board as well.
I have seen well beyond my “fair share” of horror movies over the years. I can scarcely count the number of films wherein I felt a chill creep up my spine. ‘The Conjuring’ got me twice. Not with cheap jump scares, either.
‘The Conjuring’ is a very well made film, regardless of genre. Director James Wan has lovingly recreated the look and feel of the era. The furniture, the songs on the radio, the costumes are all perfect.
The acting performances, by the female leads in particular, are solid and engaging. Farmiga is maternal, strong, and mysterious as Lorraine Warren. And Lili Taylor as Carolyn Perron is so easily empathized with that her struggle becomes difficult to watch.
The Warren’s are famous to many as the paranormal investigative team behind another case during the 1970’s. The Warren’s investigated a family haunting just outside of Amityville, New York which went on to become the most famous haunting case in America.
Hopefully, if the filmmakers decide to make another film focused on the Warren’s case files, it will be the Amityville Horror from their perspective.
If you like horror movies, ‘The Conjuring’ is a must see. The film is an involving, creepy chiller that’s made with intelligence and class.