The Conjuring Review
by Nick Casaletto
If there is one that that is hard to impress me with, its the horror movie genre. Generally, in today’s current films, horror films have turned into torture gore porn with no real sense of suspense. When I saw the James Wan directed film Insidious back in 2010, my hope for the horror genre came back. That film stuck with me and to this day I am still scared by that damn dancing boy scene. When I found out James Wan was directing a film about the infamous Warren family, I was imminently excited. The look and feel of Insidious was something fresh in the genre, with breathe taking shots, and scares that the film earns. The Conjuring is his latest take to scare our pants off and I am happy to tell you that he succeeds with flying colors.
The film takes place in 1971, in a small town in Rhode Island. The Perron family gets a great deal on a house in an auction and its the perfect place for them to settle, or so we think. Carolyn and Roger Perron (Ron Livingston, Lilly Taylor) and their five daughters move in the house smiles galore. No sooner do they move in do things seem out of the ordinary, to put it lightly. Noises, screams, and even images of people present themselves throughout the first few nights of their stay in the new home. Without going into too much details for the sake of spoilers, a major event happens to the mother, Carolyn, which causes her to hunt down the Warrens (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) to see if they can find out exactly whats wrong.
This is a film where I would strongly suggest going into it “blind”. Do yourself a favor and stay away from the theatrical trailers, if you can. The trailers give away a good amount of the scares in the first half of the film. I am happy to say that when the “big twist” happens and so on, there is no footage of the rest of the film in any of the other trailers I have seen. This movie packs a big emotion core to the story, mainly dealing with the two main woman. Lorraine Warren’s back story plays a key role in the central story of the film and it ties into the main story with the Perron’s seamlessly. Vera Farmiga pulls off one hell of a performance here and is truly the emotional core of the story, I believed every line she read and every emotion and mannerism she showed. The supporting cast all did fine work as well, however, I feel like Ron Livingston was quite stale. In the the parts where his character was supposed to show true emotion, I felt like he was rather wooden and it kind of took me out of the movie briefly.
There has been a lot of talk about this film earning its R rating for simply being too scary. There is no gore, cursing, sexual content, or even that much violence for that matter. It is simply just scary and suspenseful. The film earns its scares, without too many jump scares to cheapen the end result. James Wan has a real knack for these long, panned out, beautiful shots which really encompass the true eerie element the film is going for. Very rarely do I leave a horror film saying the cinematography was excellent, but it truly was. I loved the fact that there was almost no cut scenes in the film, it felt like a series of long shots which added suspense to almost every scene. Another credit I give to the film is the lack of music present throughout. The scenes are quiet and calculated and it is clear that Wan knows exactly what he wants to pull off in each scene.
I do not want to dive much into the plot, it is really something that shouldn’t be spoiled for you. There is a little bit of everything in this one. Demons, Possession, creepy little kids and even a disgusting glass doll that has a “mind of its own”. All these factors serve a purpose in the story trying to be told and are not just thrown in there to give us a scare. The supernatural elements actually drive the story forward and I really appreciate that about this film. The way the film wraps up was completely suspenseful in one of the most creepy exorcism scenes I have seen since, well, The Exorcist.
I saw this with a packed crowd full of horror movie fans and it was a real blast. The theater was laughing and screaming the whole way through, it was a truly fun theater experience. Some of the makeup on the “Demons” were quite silly and there is a scene where a bunch of CGI birds fly into a house which was not only cliche, but silly as well. Those are just minor gripes to which I feel, was one of the better horror movies I have seen in recent years. I am truly excited to see Insidious: Chapter 2 this fall and am also excited to see what Jame Wan does next. Do yourself a favor and get some friends together and see The Conjuring. It is a fun and creepy time that you will be talking about with fellow movie goers for some time.
Final Grade: A-