Well a week after its release I finally got to see The Conjuring. Not only was this one of my favorite films of the year, but it was absolutely director James Wan’s best film to date.
Based on one of the cases of famed ghosthunters/demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren, we get a glimpse into what has been claimed to be their most horrific case. It follows the story of the Perron family, who move into a secluded farm house on a nice stretch of land and are quickly terrorized by a malevolent force residing inside their new home. I’ve always been intrigued by and respected the Warrens for not only doing their best to help those who were being afflicted, but that many of their cases resulted in them debunking supposed hauntings. They were not ones to run around telling families that their place was haunted to make money or build publicity. I really enjoyed the fact that this film portrayed them in a serious and real way and I loved seeing a true story brought to the screen in realistic and non-gratuitous manner. While a few details have been stated as being changed for “dramatic effect.” It’s still clear that if this really did happen that the film did it’s best to stick to the truth without much embellishment.
Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) and Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) lead the cast as Ed and Lorraine and are spot-on in their roles. They portray the couple as professionals and caring people, just like the real Ed and Lorraine. They are the true standouts of the film.
Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston step into the roles of Carolyn and Roger Perron, the parents of the tormented family. Along with their five daughters, they try their best to protect themselves from the evil entity stalking the halls (and the scary fucking basement) of the old house. Throughout the movie we see how each member of the family and two of the Warrens’ assistants are terrorized throughout the investigation. As this happens we see a mystery unfold that may go in directions that you will not see coming.
This was a genuinely creepy film. It didn’t rely on cheap scares like many ghost films do, though one or two will make you jump. Everything else is just put out there to scare you, no jumps required. This is much more than a “fun horror flick,” it’s a truly scary film with a lot of more substance and some of the greatest dramatic sequences in any horror movie of the last decade. I got chills a few times and was always awaiting what horrible thing would happen next. It was great seeing a film that involves ghosts, witchcraft and possession done in a way that wasn’t over the top and turned goofy. Only a few moments in the final climax even came close to your standard possession movie, but was still handled far better than anything else since The Exorcist. If you are a fan of horror films please go see this movie. It is deserving of your money and you will not leave disappointed. You may be creeped out the rest of the day, but it’s well worth it.
From what I understand, another film with Wilson and Farmiga reprising their roles has been green-lit and I’m OK with that…as long as it’s not called The Conjuring 2 because the title is tied to this one particular case. Here’s hoping Hollywood won’t screw this up, but I won’t hold my breath.