Running Time: 112 minutes
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston
Directed By: James Wan
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
A family hires two paranormal investigators after some strange occurrences take place in their quiet farmhouse.
(See picture below) Who the frak would own a doll like this? Seriously, this is the scariest looking doll of all time!
The Conjuring is the story about Frank and Lorraine Warren. They are paranormal investigators that help people with supernatural problems. Taking place in the 1970’s, The Warrens are about to take on their most difficult case yet. The Perron family has been tormented by a sinister presence in their farmhouse and requires the Warren’s aid to stop the supposed haunting.
The film starts off with a fantastic opening scene where two girls are tormented by the above mentioned doll. The brief opener puts the viewer on edge, as the paranormal activity is entirely suspenseful and extremely abrupt. This creation of nervous tension never leaves the viewer for the whole film (which is obviously a good thing.) The opening moments also offers a glimpse into what the Warren’s work is all about. They are there to primarily debunk any hauntings, and if so needed, to offer assistance to people who legitimately need their help. The Warrens lead an interesting but happy life as they battle the evils of the world. That is all about to change when they are introduced to the Perron family. The Perrons are a down on their luck family trying to survive an economic downturn. They have recently moved into a fixer-upper farmhouse on a picturesque tract of land. The two parents and five daughters settle into their new house with thoughts of new beginnings on their minds, but the house has other ideas. The first half of the film sees the Perron family bombarded with strange happenings and unexplainable events. Random noises, awful smells, and malfunctioning electronics seem to invade their lives at every turn. This film seems to throw something scary at the viewer with alarming frequency (which I normally hate) but the film is so creepy that it works. The Perrons pass off the early events as new house growing pains, but when their dog starts to freak out over nothing, unexplained bruises appear on their bodies, and random items fall from the walls, they decide they need help (enter the Warrens.)
This film has a veteran cast and they work well together in their respective roles. The Perrons are played by Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston. I have been critical of these two in the past, but they are solid as blue collar parents trying to make ends meet. They are skeptics of the occult and yet seek help when things spiral out of control. The two of them work in this film because they don’t try and do too much with their characters. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga play the Warrens. Wilson is solid if unremarkable as the fearless paranormal investigator. He adds stability to the chaotic situations through his calming demeanor. Farmiga is not only beautiful, but she turns in the best performance of this film. She will win the viewer over with her powerful performance/emotions as a self professed clairvoyant. Farmiga and Wilson seem so at ease with each other as they ghost hunt, 1970’s style! The only weak performance in this is turned in by the youngest Perron daughter played by Kyla Deaver. Deaver’s awful dialogue and robotic delivery will definitely take the viewer out of the scare mode at times. She is young though, so it is hard to pick on her.
As the movie carries on, it will prove to the viewer that if you look into the darkness long enough, there are sometimes evil things lurking there. The Warren’s presence in the house has escalated the hatred, and they have a limited time to root out the evil residing there. The Perrons are at their wits end as the entity tries to tear the family apart. There is no rest for this poor family as they are assaulted when they sleep, they are assaulted when they play, and they are assaulted when they are most vulnerable. Discovering the reason behind the evilness of the house only adds to the enjoyment of a truly chilling movie experience. As the film comes to its tumultuous ending, one cannot help but get shivers down their spine. In conclusion, this is one of the best horror films of 2013. Right from the opening moments, this film will scare the viewer with loud noises and creepy imagery. The relentless frights will keep you on edge as nowhere can be considered a safe place. This film has ghostly happenings, exorcism elements, scary old toys, and a creepy old house. All of these things are working in a cacophony of terror to delight the viewer. The only negative is the lack of blood and some cheesy supporting characters (see the police officer) but truly this film was great. Will the Warrens be able to save the Perron family? Watch to find out.
Director James Wan has been hit or miss with me but this is definitely his best film since the original Saw move. The farmhouse is a great locale for evil doings, and the tried and tested cast gets maximum results. His camera work is superb as he makes the viewer experiences a lot of situations from the characters point of view. He makes the viewer fear to look under the bed and behind closed doors, and that is not an easy thing to do. It will be a long time before I play hide and seek with my nephews after watching this film.
I give this movie a big recommendation especially to people who don’t need blood and gore in their horror.
T Factor + If you like the paranormal activity genre then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you like gore in your horror films then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Sinister, Insidious.