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Conjuring, The (DVD)
Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. The Conjuring tells the horrifying true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, world renowned paranormal investigators, who were called to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives. Oscar® nominee Vera Farmiga (The Departed) and Golden Globe nominee Patrick Wilson (Insidious) play the investigators while Golden Globe nominee Ron Livingston (Band of Brothers) and Emmy® nominee Lili Taylor (Six Feet Under) play the Perron family plagued by sinister spirits in this dark chiller from the writers of The Reaping and the creator of the Saw films.]]>
Director James Wan made a splash in the horror genre with Saw, a rather ingenious midnight movie that spawned a legion of splattery imitators. Rather than continue in that overtly grody mode, however, Wan chose to move on, with a series of films (most notably Dead Silence and Insidious) that showed a healthy appreciation of the classics in the field, as well as a gratifying progression of skills behind the camera. The Conjuring stands as the moment when Wan puts it all together, fashioning a terrifically freaky haunted-house movie that respects its audience, even when it's busy finding new ways to launch them out of their seats. Based on ostensibly true events, the film works as something of a thesis on scary movies, featuring all of the essential elements--a creaky door here, a scary doll there, dark corners, well, everywhere--as well as a command of old-school pacing. Unlike the majority of in-your-face modern horror, it knows when to hold back, and when to go for absolute broke. Chad and Carey Hayes's script follows Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson), a pair of married paranormal investigators dealing with the increasing mental toll of their profession. When they take on the case of a haunted Connecticut farmhouse, their misgivings come to a terrifying head. And then some. Wan gets some fantastic performances from his cast, particularly from the alternately steely and fragile Farmiga, and Lili Taylor, whose inspired work here more than compensates for her appearance in the misguided remake of The Haunting. Together, they make it unnervingly easy to believe in the things in the shadows. The most impressive element of The Conjuring, though, ultimately proves to be its utter relentlessness, steadily cranking the screws without resorting to easy jump scares to tone down the tension. While always playing fair, it qualifies as one of those rare scary movies that put the viewer through the absolute wringer, without leaving them feeling ill-used at the end. Prepare to jump. --Andrew Wright
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I will admit that this movie made me jump twice, and that is not easy to do. For me that means you have to give me a story that is interesting enough that I quit trying to pay attention to whats going on in favor of following the story and trying to put myself in the character's shoes. And as far as the "lets go down in the dark basement by ourselves with no light where we just heard a strange noise" scenarios go, (which are something that I really dislike in movies), this movie doesn't really have them. In fact, there is one moment early on in the movie that almost seems like a nod to this or poking fun at this where one of the characters starts to go into the dark basement by himself, goes down like two steps, then stops and ask for a box of matches. While not a whole lot better, this at least made me feel like the character was TRYING to think before he acted...
Without having done any background research, I hypothesize much of the events as depicted in The Conjuring were exaggerated for dramatic affect. If you can put aside the idea that this is a "true" story, there is much to enjoy for supernatural horror film buffs. Carefully timed scenes make you jump from your chair, similar to "The Shining", which is something I haven't experienced in a horror film of this sort since "The Sixth Sense". Also, the film is not too "bloody" but relies more on its scare tactics.
The story is loosely based upon the real-life investigation by the Warren's of a house owned by an American family, the Perron's, in the early 1970's. The film begins with one of the Warren's other cases, the so-called Annabelle doll case, before cutting to one of their lectures on paranormal investigations at a university. The main story thread focuses on The Perron's, a married couple and their five daughters, who move into a house in the countryside in New England. Almost from the beginning, they experience some strange occurrences in their house. The first tip-off is an incident with their dog, who doesn't wish to enter the house. Then creaking doors, strange knockings, and glimpses of apparitions terrorize the family at night, which also fosters the somnambulism (i.e. sleepwalking) of one of the daughters.
When the house becomes nearly unlivable because of the nightly disruptions, the mother Carolyn Perron (Lilli Taylor in an absolutely convincing performance) tracks down the Warren's. They agree to investigate employing a combination of ESP on the part of Lorraine Warren and technological tools via cameras and tape recorders. As they continue to learn more about not only the recent history of the disturbances, they learn the history of the house which tells many secrets. In particular, two supernatural centers for the unrest are unused basement filled with antique furniture and an old tree near the creek slightly away from the house.
While I don't think the Conjuring should be taken seriously as a true-to-life story, it's a horror-fest roller coaster ride. The directing and camera work create the perfect balance of frights, suspense and horror to keep you watching to the next door creaking, relieved when the "thing" appears then vanishes. The supernatural malevolence is only gradually revealed, as it should be, until the final denouement. As a horror film, it works well and deserves a place alongside some of the other films of its type, such The Exorcist (still the best film in this genre), and Poltergeist. Simultaneously, is this really how the incidents unfolded in real life? I doubt it.
You scared me. But I'm beginning to understand why... here's a list of everything you "sampled" into your movie:
An old scary Victorian house, a scary tree, a scary pond/lake, scary children in white nightgowns, scary children that sleepwalk, a scary basement, scary hidden spaces, scary antique furniture that moves on its own (like multiple rocking chairs that rock when no one is in them), doors that open and close on their own, clocks that stop at 3AM, a scary TV that comes on with static, a scary children's toy that plays creepy music and has a spinning mirror and a clown that pops up, a scary life-size doll that moves, a dead dog, birds that fly into windows and die, spirits that grab your feet when they aren't covered with a blanket, a steady-cam-scene, a scary girl-looking-under-her-bed-scene, a scary scene where the lights go out and all you have is matches, a scene where a team sets up their paranormal surveillance gear, a scary children's game involving clapping, murder-suicides, a priest, someone speaking Latin, multiple exorcisms, a noose, a creepy locket... yikes.
I could be mad you stole these things, or that you packed some many cliches into one movie, but you reminded me why they were scary in the first place. And for that I thank you.
And the director of the movie is also the one who directed Insidious,both chapters is also good at this job in this kind of genre. My vote for this movie is 10 out of 10 because i think that is a very good movie.