Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Conjuring Movie Review

The Conjuring (2013)

Rent The Conjuring on Amazon Video
Written by:  Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring:  Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor
Rated: R

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to identify and remove the demon terrorizing the Perron family.

Horror movies often get a separate rating scale, but this is a solid movie outright. Horror movies' main goal is often just to make your jump or squirm, sacrificing story and logic to achieve that goal, but The Conjuring is a solid story with good characters. It just happens to be terrifying. This relies on tension and anticipation to drive you to the point of insanity. This movie knows it's what you don't see that can scare you the most. Blood and gore is shocking, but not scary. While this is a great movie, if you don't like scary movies you need to avoid this like a possessed doll holding a knife.
Watch it.

The plot is well tread ground, in essence a haunted house, but this cranks up the tension high.
The Perron family buys a house from the bank and strange things start happening. In these types of movies you usually get a big introduction about the house and the back story as to why the family buys the house, but The Conjuring skips that and gets straight to the point. We know almost immediately the house is haunted.

Director James Wan is adept at the genre, achieving fame with Saw (2004) and directing a slew of horror films afterwards, before going on to direct Furious 7 (2015).

This movie does a lot with what we can't see, leaving a lot to the imagination. One of the kids sees 'it' in the corner, but the other child and the viewer can't. At least, we don't think we can as we strain to make out a form in the darkness, wondering if something is about to appear on screen. One of the best scenes early on is the mother playing a hide and seek game blind folded. Those hiding have to clap three times. The mother slowly walks towards clapping, but it isn't her kid clapping. That scene is intense.

This doesn't rely on blood and gore or jump cuts to shock you. Incredible restraint is exercised before we even see whatever is haunting the house. That wait makes the reveal all the more startling as we've been waiting for that moment.
This creates a legitimately terrifying mood, and focuses on the paranormal investigators as much as the family being terrorized. The Warrens research the house, trying to determine the root cause. As they begin to realize what they're dealing with, they admit they aren't equipped to handle it.

This is a period piece which adds a nice element, indirectly tying this to The Exorcist and older movies that involved possession. This doesn't fall into the trap of having characters make dumb decisions like the recent Poltergiest (2015) remake (read my review).

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