Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Movie Review: The Conjuring
Written By: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes
Main Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, & Sterling Jerins
Summary: The Conjuring tells the supposedly true store of legendary paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren who were called to help the Perron Family who are being terrorized by a dark presence that haunts the secluded farmhouse they just moved into. With the family's safety on the line, the Warrens are forced to confront the powerful entity and experience what might be the most horrifying case of their lives.
The Good: This movie is easily one of the best horror films that I've seen in awhile. Like any good horror film, The Conjuring builds a wonderful sense of foreboding and dread and waits for the perfect moment to bring out its scares instead of throwing them haphazardly at the audience like most modern films of the genre do. After the rather chilling Insidious, James Wan has proven that he knows how to build a truly effective horror movie and the scrip by Chad and Carey Hayes is wonderful as well. Unlike most modern horror films, The Conjuring also gives the audience enough time to form connections with the main characters so we will actually feel something when terrible things happen to them.
The acting from the majority of the cast is excellent as well. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are perfect as the Warrens, making us believe in what they are doing and the chemistry between the two is astounding. The same goes for Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston as Carolyn and Roger Perron. The Perron children also do a fantastic job, with Joey King and Mackenzie Foy having the most notable performances in my humble opinion.
Finally, The Conjuring feels like a haunted house film that would have been made in the late 60's/early 70's. It relies heavily on atmosphere and building tension before finally releasing it at the last moment instead of cheap jump scares and loud sounds. The amount of practical effects littered throughout the movie was a nice touch as well. I could easily see this film standing side-by-side with other horror classics like The Changeling and The Haunting.
The Bad: While the majority of the performances and characters were very good, there were some that were admittedly weaker than others. Kyla Deaver, while giving a decent performances as April Perron, seemed to downplay some of her reactions at times, which caused her to come off a little bit wooden at times. Also, I found the character of Officer Brad to be somewhat annoying. While John Brotherton gave a fine performance, the character represents an archetype that I really dislike in horror stories ("The Skeptic Cop") and his presence in the film was a tad irritating at times.
Also, while the film is an excellently made haunted house movie, it's not the most ground-breaking entry into the genre. Instead of subverting some of the expectations tied to the haunted house subgenre, The Conjuring chooses to remain within those boundaries and just tries to be the best horror film it can be (which I believe it easily succeeded at).
Conclusion: The Conjuring is an extremely well-crafted horror movie that relies more on atmosphere, creepiness, dread, and tension than jump scares and loud noises. James Wan has delivered another great horror film that I could easily see becoming a modern classic of the genre.
Recommended?: A wholehearted yes. If you are looking for a well-made horror film that knows what it takes to be truly scary, you should give The Conjuring a chance. You won't be disappointed.