I’m a big fan of horror movies. In fact depending on how long you’ve been following my posts, you’ll remember there was a section of several posts that were all horror films. James Wan, the director of the original “Saw” and “Insidious” has placed himself on my list of good horror directors, mainly because he still knows how to scare. Granted, “Saw” isn’t really a scary movie, more of a gruesome torture-fest but he more than made up for it with “Insidious” and “The Conjuring”, which already has a greenlit sequel. I can’t say I’m surprised, because I watched this during the day and I still had to look behind me a few times.
Within the past few years it seemed that “horror” films were relying more on gore than actual scares. This was a sad time because after about two gore-filled movies and their sequels, it just becomes repetitive. I’d be willing to say that with the release of “Paranormal Activity” the scare was finally brought back into horror films. This is what they used to be and what truly makes us check under the bed every night. Thankfully James Wan has bought into this and so far is doing a great job.
“The Conjuring” is based on the real events surrounding the Perron and Warren families during the years of 1973 and 1974. Apparently one of the Perron family members was present during the making of the film and acted as an advisor, and after seeing the final product said that there was not much deviation from the events depicted. That’s…creepy. Always makes me wonder why people actually stick around in a house after just ONE night of weird crap. If I woke up in the middle of the night and I was on the ceiling and something was whispering demonic words into my ear, I wouldn’t even stop to grab my toothbrush on the way out the door. But nonetheless the Perron’s trying times led to some pretty good entertainment.
The film opens on the Perron family moving in, husband Roger (Ron Livingston with some killer hair), wife Carolyn (Lili Taylor in the only other movie I’ve seen her in besides “The Haunting”) and their five daughters. Right off the bat the family dog refuses to inside the house: Sign #1. During the unpacking phase one of the daughters finds a creeptastic music box with a spinning mirror in it, and of course this is the girl who winds up talking to a little boy nobody else can see later on: Sign #2. Within the first few nights the family discovers a boarded up cellar with a bunch of old stuff, loud knocking noises in the night, and a creepy looking woman lurking in the bedrooms playing “Hide and Clap” with the family: Signs #3-100. Finally after waking up each morning with new bruises on her body, Carolyn decides to attend a paranormal hunting couples’ forum and ask them to check out the house; enter Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). Coincidentally enough, Ed and Lorraine are the names of my grandparents…weird.
This is where the movie really got my attention. Instead of moving slowly and throwing in a good scare every once in awhile with a huge finale, the movie just picked up speed right away. As soon as the Warren’s check out the house stuff starts getting weird. Normally the ghosts tend to put the hauntings on hold while paranormals are lurking about, but these spirits just don’t give a damn. What follows is several nights of terror and history being thrown around as we learn about the house and the haunts it has in store. Much like Wan’s previous film “Insidious”, it isn’t so much the house that’s haunted but also the inhabitants. Also to give it a little twist, the Warren’s start to experience a little haunting of their own while not even in the Perron’s house. See? Creepy.
As per usual I won’t go into a lot of details here because this movie should be seen. Don’t know how many people out there like scary movies but this one has very little blood and is more of a hide-behind-your-fingers type film, so give it a go. There’s already going to be a sequel, plus “Insidious: Chapter 2” is coming out in September so just face it, you’re going to have to see some scary movies here.
DIRECTOR’S CUT: Pretty good scares for what it is, and shot in the style of some old 70’s horror films. James Wan knows what’s up.
FLICKCHART RATING: 313/2028