Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Good horror movies can often be a tricky beast. Not only do they have to provide scares, but they also need to tell a good story as well. Such is the task for director James Wan and his new haunted-house/demonic possession flick, THE CONJURING.
The Perrons (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) and their five daughters move into a new house only to be terrorized by a wrathful supernatural force. They call upon the aid of the Warrens (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), a husband-and-wife demonologist team who have some demons (pun) of their own to overcome.

THE CONJURING employs just about every element ever seen in the history of haunted-house and demonic possession films. Everything from scared animals, sealed-off rooms, bumps in the night, possessed objects (including the creepiest goddamn doll in the history of film), unseen voices and creaky doors everywhere. What makes all these old elements work so well is not only the timing, but the unique story weaved around them. THE CONJURING diverts from the standard-issue tale of the Scared Family seeking help from The Rescuers by giving The Rescuers themselves a relatable storyline of their own. As the Warrens come to the aid of the Perrons, it is revealed that they have a troubled past of their own thanks to their professions, including a young daughter who may be in danger from pissed-off spooks of her own. The stories of the two families run alongside each other nicely, giving the film a double-whammy of things to care about.
James Wan makes excellent use out of the big spooky house and every piece of furniture inside it. Scares are well timed and are set up with the perfect amount of pretense; even when you suspect a scare is coming, it still manages to get you. The spooky atmosphere is well executed by way of practical effects, simple camera tricks, and very good editing…with the sound editing really standing out. Every creak, whisper, and whisp of a draft is perfectly edited into the story and distributed nicely, making THE CONJURING one of the best-sounding horror films in recent memory.

Acting is very good. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga have great chemistry together, and they both are able to push their limits of fear and desperation very well. Ron Livingston is a bit bland but does OK, and is very much outshined by his on-screen wife, Lili Taylor. Taylor winds up stealing the spook-show as a caring mom, and later hits a new gear when her character takes a wicked turn. The five daughters are very good (Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, and Kyla Deaver), although with the five of them it’s easy to lose track of them on-screen.

The finale is a bit predictable to anyone who has ever seen a horror film, but at that point you don’t care because you are fully invested in the characters and what they all have to overcome. THE CONJURING won’t be remembered as a horror classic, nor will it blaze any new trails in the genre, but it is ultimately worth every single bump you hear behind your wall at night after viewing.

1 comment:

  1. Saw it Thursday and it prompted my Friday Blog "Who YOU Gonna Call?" Read it at Love to get your comments!


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