The Conjuring is the brilliant scary movie of the 2013 summer run. It’s awfully depressing that it’s taken me almost it’s entire run in theaters to see this certified fresh possession movie. Even though the trailer claims it’s “not a possession,” spoilers, in the end there’s always a possession.
The Conjuring is based on the “true” life events of Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) during the 70s. Why the 70’s? Because that’s when people could get away with haunted house bull shit and not be called bat shit insane on the internet or the news. The 70’s was a much different era, and it seems to be the favorite era of spooky specters who love tormenting the hell out of families who have just moved into new houses. Que to Ed and Lorraine Warren, a paranormal-investigating couple who help people across the East Coast (conveniently near Salem, Mass.) with hauntings, possessions, cursed items, and any other thing that goes bump in the night.
How does one go about retaining such an obtuse job? Oh just by being a clairvoyant and noted demonologist. Do you not know what a clairvoyant is? Well then, it’s just a person who can see into the earth’s otherworldly realm. Lorraine can see ghosts of the past, and even peer into a person’s memory when presented with a photo by said person. And she was brought to her husband, Ed, for a reason, as they claim throughout the whole movie. And that reason was to help the sorry folks of the 70s out with their petrologist-y occurrences.
So what recently-moved family in Rhode Island needs help now? The Perrons in Harrisville on their secluded farm house which fits their family of seven. A wife and husband, and five girls all between the ages of probably 5 and 17. And it doesn’t take long for the paranormal to start welcoming their new family into the cursed house. The dog catches on early and refuses to set foot in the new, yet entirely too old house. So Sadie stays outside for the night and barks her little heart out toward the master bedroom (this film is chock full of slap your face foreshadowing). The next day she is predictably and unfortunately found dead by the youngest girl. Why does there have to be a pet dog in these types of movies and why do I have to go through severe anxiety over the possible loss of a dog? These horror directors really know how to irk me.
Aside from the “unexpected” death of their dog; every clock in the house stopped at 3:07 am that night, the entire upstairs became unbearably cold, and a few of the girls had the smell of a “rotten dead body” in their room that miraculously dissolved by day break. At this point this would be enough for me to get the hell out of the house, but of course the Perrons have all their money tied up in this godforsaken house and have never seen a horror house movie in their life. Oh, and of course there is a cellar that they had no idea existed because it was boarded up. Hm, I wonder why it was? They decided to stay even though Carolyn, the mother (Lili Taylor) has recently developed an “iron deficiency” and keeps having mysterious bruises appear all over her body. Ring-a-ding-ding, this is your final notice to get the fuck out of that house before the damned spirit attaches itself to you. You, the reader, has seen The Poltergiest right?
Which is what we find out that happens after the Warrens finally show up to investigate the house. (My biggest problem with this film is that they don’t show you any form time, we the viewer have no idea how much time has passed.) And the house seems to be much worse than they realized, by far the most disturbing case the Warrens have ever had! Or so the movie claims. The Warrens are also the same people who dealt with the Amityville Horror, which was supposedly the scariest house haunting to ever inhabit America, which may or may not be true. But Director James Wan does a terrific job of scaring the pants of me and the rest of the audience during this story.
Wan’s filming techniques are spectacularly well done. There is this reverse/upside down camera shot he does that starts off in the cellar, moves through the 1st floor, and up to the second floor. This particular 2 minutes of film depicts the mass amount of chaos that is happening during the climax of the film, and I have never seen it done so well. The musical score and notes are done just as spectacularly as well. This movie certainly needs to be seen in theater because, if you’re lucky enough, the entire theater will shake because of the intensity of the low decibels during some of the scariest scenes. And it just adds to the terror.
The movie has some very interesting twists and turns, but don’t be disappointed when there are periods of “you’re a dumb ass” and “that was really predictable” happening, because there are many brilliant scenes where you will be holding your breath or hiding in your shirt during later.
The acting was done perfectly. I couldn’t imagine any other woman playing Lorraine Warren except the amazing Vera. She also does a bang up job in A&E’s Bates Motel which ended it’s first season this past May. Patrick Wilson as her caring husband is incredibly believable as well. He brings a strong, yet sensitive man to life on screen for the two hour film. Both Patrick and Vera plan on coming back for the next installment of the Warrens tale, which may be a new take on the Amityville Horror as they nodded to at the end of the film over a phone call.
The rest of the characters are done just as good even though they are only side characters. There is something that resonates with me and audiences across the world when there’s a little girl being scared shitless because of an unidentified being roaming their house, pulling their hair, yanking at their feet, and leading them on walks while they are asleep. Taylor as the frightened mother only looking out for her children nearly reprises her role as Nell from the 1999 The Haunting. But she’s perfected it this time around. Ron Livingston also plays the caring 70s father with dignity, strength, and fear.
Even I, the horror Guru that I am, had to keep telling myself, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie. But I’m sure you’re sitting there saying, “No, no! It’s based a a true story.” Do you have any idea how many times Hollywood has bastardized that phrase? Now, I’ve done some research myself, and have found these articles helpful, yet, you must realize that even though they had Andrea Parron (I believe the eldest daughter) and Lorraine Warren on as consultants, the Warrens were discredited after the Amityville hoax.
Regardless if the story is true or just another Hollywood bastard, the movie delivers in screams, thrills, and chills. I highly suggest you see this movie before it leaves theaters, which may be very, very soon. You might regret your decision while you’re watching the film, but that’s just because of how damn scary it is.
And if this review hasn’t persuaded you enough below is the trailer, which do contain some of the scariest moments of the film, but will certainly still deliver once you pay that admission ticket.