Movie Review: The Conjuring
Prinz Lee wrote this review 3 years and 9 months ago
Your sh*t… Do you enjoy having it scared out of you? If your answer is “yes,” than I suggest embarking on “The Conjuring” – one of 2013's scariest films!
James Wan once again rules with his psychological edge of creepiness and elevated mind-twisting scares. This guy really knows how to kidnap your attention. The arc he provides in all of his pieces is something modern horror/thriller films lack, and although “The Conjuring” isn’t really providing anything new per se, what it does give us is a brilliant narrative with everything you want and/or need in a fright flick.
The name James Wan (along writing partner Leigh Whannell) first emerged with the original installment of “Saw.” A film that started out pretty small in every way possible turns tables and winds up a heavy-hitting piece of gore-porn that generated several sequels – making it one of Hollywood’s most profitable franchises. Post “Saw,” Wan’s follow-ups (“Death Sentence” and “Dead Silence”) never tapped into audiences resulting in an outcome that wasn’t quite mainstream. (I may be in the minority here, but I’ve seen both films and even though they’re truly not as affective, they carry an it factor that oozes Wan’s unique touch.)
After some downtime, the guy (along with Whannell) gives us “Insidious.” And what a treat that movie was and/or still IS! Taking it from one scare to the next, the intensity carried within “Insidious” was one of the best film-based experiences ever. Start to finish, the film left its print with audiences everywhere and also served as a powerful form of redemption for James Wan considering his absence between 2007 – 2010…solidifying to the world there was a master of fright on an unstoppable rise.
Off the bat, paying homage to “The Exorcist,” “Poltergeist,” and “The Amityville Horror,” James Wan’s “The Conjuring” is a bone-chilling, true life story about two families united in Harrisville, R.I. due to a dark presence beyond their comprehension.
One of the best, outstanding gifts “The Conjuring” has lies with its casting. On one end we have Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, whose roles are Ed and Lorraine Warren, a real-life husband-and-wife duo of paranormal activities and/or demonology, who made quite a name for themselves back in the 70s. On the other we have Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston playing the roles of Carolyn and Roger Perron, a couple with five daughters, who move into a new house only to start experiencing some freakishly, unexplainable acts.
As the story unfolds, we’re lured into two worlds apart. We catch glimpses of the Warrens doing their thing in terms of college lectures about their past experiences, books the acts have inspired, and how their lives have been modified as they’ve worked case after case dealing with some of the most unique paranormal existences – one of the best which we get to experience in detail (both visually and in story form) stems from one that entails a doll. Not wanting to spoil anything, but it does generate a feeling where and how deep Wan and writers Chad and Carey Hayes are going. So deep, part of it introduces us to a room filled with all sorts of items the Warrens have collected over the years during their work that are cursed and locked up in a unique form of supernatural-like prison.
When we’re introduced to the Perrons, we see a simple, happy family seeking a fresh start. The deal was too good to pass on, and the beautiful farmhouse in Harrisville seemed like the right place. Setting in as any other family would, we see nothing different. From giggles, to unpacking, to exploring what’s around, the all-American family has big plans as they look to settle. But it all takes a turn once things start getting strange, dark, and intensely out-of-control.
Building on an interestingly frightening arc between scares and the unity of two families, James Wan’s work comes off beautifully for reasons of not simply knowing what he wants, but reuniting with cinematographer John Leonetti. Their vision and usage of space in this particular house is so terrifying, much of the creepiness instilled within us doesn’t always come from scenes that entail it, but just the threat that lingers as the camera pans from one room to another that also has a way of luring you into a world of scare beyond your control.
Not to mention the score and editing also contribute to the film’s eeriness, mood and environment that also draws out tension in “The Conjuring” beautifully. Nothing like a film that has the capability to touch in all aspects of emotions, and at my age getting into my mind, body and soul is what I seek when watching a film. This of course becomes even greater when they’re supposed to be scary.
On all aspects of production, everyone and everything seems to have come off well. As mentioned, “The Conjuring” isn’t giving away anything new due to having seen this form of scare before, but it’s been missing for a long, long time and it makes me glad to say that this is one of James Wan’s best pieces of work to this point. As I patiently wait for “Insidious: Chapter 2,” my expectations of fright-levels are high, but knowing he hasn’t disappointed me in the past, I totally thank him for having rattled my brain with “The Conjuring,” and totally trust his farewell aim at scare-tactics with his second installment of “Insidious.”
Overall, “The Conjuring” is a film that generates an overwhelming sense of fear, awe, shock and suspense. Remarkably tense and terrifying, this most definitely will be one of the year's most talked about and recommended masterpieces that’ll scare the hell out of you!