The Conjuring is moody and suspenseful film from the get go. It’s not the perfect film worth the price of full admission, but at second tier cinemas, the six dollars spent is worthwhile to get a modest scare.
Creator/Director James Wan has finally earned his wings by creating an effective horror-thriller with The Conjuring. Not only does this movie give viewers a taste of some old school methods of invoking fear ala Robert Wise’s The Haunting and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, but it also shows audiences what techniques were used in paranormal investigation back in the day. The 70’s was a ripe era for the best horror films to emerge. Flash forward to the 2010s, this filmmaker has finally found a style that works for demanding fans.
Not everyone will take to the torture porn that the Saw franchise embodied. Wan’s Dead Silence was just boring and Death Sentence was too familiar. His last horror flick, Insidius was just incredulous.
With The Conjuring, it’s a Poltergeist-style film for the masses that pits real life and controversial paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) against a ghost. In life, this entity was known as Bathsheba, a witch who wanted to sacrifice her child to the Devil. Because of her atrocities, the walls at this ancient home really want to tell their tales; for its eyes and ears really want to speak of everything that has gone on inside for more than just a generation.
The tension is nicely delivered by Wan’s direction, and viewers will find themselves drawn in as the story approaches one startling revelation to another. Unfortunately, parts of the tale becomes predictable and this movie lean towards a clean ending than a completely doubtful one. But as for who is remaining in the old house after the Perron family moved out, perhaps another movie will address it. In this case, to not tell all is good.
If there is to be one observation that has to be noted about this film, it’s in the accurate portrayal of what the Warrens are like. They are devout Catholics with a tendency to label most of their famous cases as a result of a demon manifestation. The Amityville Case is one such example. According to the Warrens, exorcism is the best way to handle these case and that is not true. However, if this accountability was contrasted to theories being said by well-known investigators of today, namely Loyd Auerbach and Brad Steiger, not all cases are as fantastic. Some folks haunted by the paranormal do not want the exposure in fear of being ridiculed.
Some may prefer seclusion instead. The boy from the real life Exorcist case did exactly just that. He grew up away from the media while Linda Blair rose to fame because of it. Just how some people act towards how media portrays them makes for a good horror movie by itself.
When Carolyn and Roger Perron (Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) move to an old lake house with their daughters, the terror they face is immediate. And to live at a secluded Rhode Island home shows that it is not wise to live so far away from help. If something drastically wrong happens, no one nearby will be available. By the time the police or emergency shows up, it is too late.
Not even The Atlantic Paranormal Society will arrive in time. They were formed in 1990 and apparently, they did investigate the residence many decades later. By making this film personal and identifiable in the era that it’s supposed to represent, Wan has delivered a product that is memorable. He teases viewers in all the right places than to deliver an all-out fright fest, and that’s good enough for a B+ rating.