Director: James Wan Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson & Lili Taylor Synopsis: “Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.” Runtime: 112 minutes
“The devil exists. God exists. And for us, as people, our very destiny hinges on which we decide to follow.”
The Conjuring is director James Wan’s latest contribution to the horror genre, and is quite possibly his best effort yet. Taking many pointers from some of the classic 70’s horror movies, The Conjuring is hardly original, but it is packed full of enough scares and clever tricks to satisfy any horror fan.
The story of The Conjuring is a true one, and centres around paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren who are called to a farmhouse in Rhode Island, where the Perron family have suddenly started to hear things go bump in the night. Whilst the story and the goings on within The Conjuring are not wholly original, director James Wan still manages to keep things fresh, so at no one point does the audience know what to expect next. To reveal too much of the story would give the game away completely here, and while the story is fairly linear, it does provide a few twists and turns along the way which keep things very interesting, and makes the outcome for the characters all the more meaningful.
Having empathy for characters in movies is essential for the film to resonate with the audience, so it’s a good thing the characters in The Conjuring are fleshed out with enough back story and meaning for us to care about what happens to them. Patrick Wilson & Vera Farmiga as Ed & Lorraine Warren are perfect in the roles of the lifelong spook hunters who had a particularly bad experience performing their last exorcism.
Ron Livingston is the head of the Perron family and considering he is not given all that much to do, he plays the part well and brings a fatherly authority to proceedings. His five daughters are all played admirably and never spiral into being annoying brats who won’t shut up, which helps us to sympathise with them and their situation. However, it is Lili Taylor who makes the most impact as Carolyn Perron, the mother of the family. She becomes the emotional anchor to the film and provides a truly brilliant performance.
The film is well shot and has an authentic 70’s feel to it, this is maintained throughout and provides a welcome break from the modern horror movie and the current phenomenon of recording everything via some new fangled hand-held device, although there is one notably good use of a camcorder during a, never predictable, basement scene.
The Conjuring provides many memorable scenes throughout its 112 minute run time, something horror films of late are sorely lacking. A few of which are bound to give some viewers restless nights. Another thing to note is the stirring music, positively Shining ‘esque in its creepiness. The score is subtle yet tense, but never becomes too obvious as to remove the audience from the movie.
As we get closer to the ending, the tension builds to such an extent that it becomes distressing to watch events unfold in front of us. Director Wan, makes sure the ending doesn’t feel forced, and provides us with a conclusion that is both plausible and satisfying, and of course leaves the door open to sequels, which is something I wouldn’t mind seeing actually.
In summary: The best horror movie of the year, and James Wan’s personal best. My advice, if you plan on seeing this at the cinema, take an extra pair of pants with you, just incase.