The Conjuring is James Wan working hard to fine tune his take on the horror genre. The man who brought us Saw (2004); Dead Silence (2007); and Insidious (2010) as a director is learning how to scare more effectively and not rely upon gore to make his audience swoon with terror.
Insidious, for all its opening promise (which contained a very effective “jump scare” in the first five minutes, ultimately lost its punch three-quarters of the way through the film. It was brilliantly scary right up until it decided to morph into the 1982 film Poltergeist. But the film was an improvement on his two other forays into the genre.
Saw, was unique – the first one was anyway – and it did go outside the box quite adroitly before it became a gore entrenched franchise that lost a little something with each revisit to the verse. Dead Silence could have been brilliant, but wasn’t. I personally could never connect with the protagonist and the whole premise had been done better in Korea with the excellent film The Doll Master.
But in making The Conjuring, James Wan has fine tuned his take on the genre and given us one hell of a scary movie.
His latest offering in the horror stakes was a real tour de force of creepy, scary and downright popcorn losing horror. Wan brings you into the state of dread and jumpy fear slowly. Building up the feelings we have for the real life couple Ed and Lorraine Warren. I’d seen them both in filmed interviews when Ed was still alive (he died in 2006) and they both struck me as caring and nice people. Wan’s casting of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson was a stroke of genius.
Both actors exuded a kind of warmth and inner confidence that the real Ed and Lorraine seemed to have. Every actor worked well in the film and it was nice to see The Haunting’s Lili Taylor back in the genre again.
The story of the Perron family is a true one and just one of many that the fascinating Warren couple investigated in their role as “ghost busters.” Unfortunately for them, they got involved in the mess that was Amityville and the resultant bad publicity that incident generated took away from their early credibility.
Wan manages to make us care about both the Warren’s and the Perron’s and we feel real dread at the evil presence in the house in Long Island and in Ed Warren’s room of artefacts. The doll, Annabelle, (which was also from a real case) exuded a menace so palpable that I felt the bloody thing was going to show up in the possessed Perron house a la Chucky and start stabbing everyone to death.
In the cinema where I finally got to see the film, I was about four seats away from the most intrusive couple I’ve ever had the displeasure of watching a film with. She was, apparently, stupid and he was, again apparently, drunk. They spent the entire film loudly whispering to each other about events on the screen that they either didn’t understand or had missed. I was ready to throttle the two of them ten minutes into the film.
Even their constant babbling during the film did not mar the suspense, fear and popcorn tossing that came from my part of the cinema. I must have jerked so many times that the bolts of my seat had to have been loosened. Wan’s effective use of sound, which he also did well in Insidious, had me cranked up and ready to kangaroo jump out of my seat repeatedly.
The look of the film was brilliant. The textures, the colours, the lighting of the film were all spot on and all worked together with the actors to sell this scary as hell horror film. With Wan honing his skills and with the very evident fine tuning of the horror genre in The Conjuring, I am eagerly looking forward to seeing Insidious 2, despite the Tiny Tim music. This is a real 5 out of 5 star scary film. Try to catch it while it’s still in the cinema!
- Movie Review: The Conjuring (Spoilers free) (thenerdlives.wordpress.com)
- The Conjuring (robgemmellsview.wordpress.com)
- The Conjuring (2013) Review (hmzfilm.wordpress.com)
- The Conjuring: Repossessed (thehindu.com)
- The Conjuring (2013), a nearly perfect, instant classic horror with amazing characters and direction (moviesfilmsandflix.com)
- Film Review: The Conjuring (pop-break.com)
- The Conjuring: Good Looking Ghostbusters + A Credible Villain + James Wan = The Scariest Movie of the Year (moviesfilmsandflix.com)
- Review of 2013 Horror Film The Conjuring By James Wan, Starring Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga (sashankkini.wordpress.com)
- Review This: The Conjuring (abovethefilmblog.wordpress.com)
- ‘The Conjuring’ earns $100M at the domestic box office (hispanicbusiness.com)