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Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Conjuring - Review

The Conjuring tells the true story of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. They encounter a supernatural force while investigating the Perron household in 1971. What they find is both disturbing and dangerous.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the clapping teaser trailer earlier this year. I am also a big fan of James Wan's work so I probably would have seen it regardless. This movie has been surrounded with hype about how terrifying and disturbing it is and I have seen pictures on Twitter where some theaters are posting warnings outside of the theater exit. Now that I have seen it I have to say that although I didn't find it terrifying, it was definitely very creepy at times. Very well done.

As far as the plot goes, this is a tricky one seeing that it is based on a true story. The keyword is "based." The basis of the movie is Ed and Lorraine Warren are asked to investigate a supernatural entity inside Roger and Carolyn Perron's farmhouse. The couple acquired the home via auction from the bank so they didn't know the history of the home. The Warrens uncover the truth and immediately begin work trying to find proof so they can identify the problem.
The oldest Perron daughter, Andrea, explains the film as an interpretation of their story through the point of view of the Warrens. Andrea Perron has actually written a 3-part book about the family's experiences in the house titled House of Darkness, House of Light. She credits James Wan for taking the essence of their experiences and condensing them into a two hour movie. She also notes that both she and Lorraine Warren gave the studio tons of information and the screenwriters were basically forced to pick and choose what to include and what not to include. She describes the movie as a work of art and not a work of fiction. She welcomes the skeptics and asks that they send any comments and questions her way and is sticking to the fact that the movie is indeed based off a true story.

With all that said, I loved the flow of the movie. I thought the intensity and overall creep factor was very high. Like I said before, I didn't find it terrifying but it was pretty creepy. The way the movie starts is with a separate case to introduce the Warrens. One thing to remember when going into this movie is the central characters aren't really the members of the Perron family. The main characters are Ed and Lorraine Warren.
I thought the acting was fantastic and it was apparent that the actors did their research. Lili Taylor was fantastic and it's kind of a shame that she didn't have more screentime. Very believable portrayal of a woman scared out of her mind. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga were also very good. I enjoyed the way they portrayed the characters and they had great chemistry.
One thing I loved was they didn't overuse the cheap scares. Of course there were jump scares, but in my opinion those types of scares rely on sound cues as well. The way the moments went in this movie was the initial imagery came before the actual scare. It gives you a little time to process what is happening and lets you almost react before the person on screen does. It's always a fun feeling to look at the person on the screen and want to shout, "look behind you!" I had a lot of fun with it.
I do have to say that I didn't expect it to be a possession movie in the end, though. It didn't kill the movie for me but it wasn't what I was expecting. 

Overall I found this a very well done movie in general, not just a horror movie. It had an interesting story, interesting characters, and it had a very creepy atmosphere. Comparing it to Wan's previous movie Insidious I will say it is very similar in nature and a lot of the cinematography was familiar, but I thought The Conjuring was better. That isn't saying Insidious was bad, but it wasn't on the same level. The Conjuring had more of an interesting story for me.
As a horror fan and a movie fan in general I definitely recommend this movie. I was not disappointed in any way. I don't want to spoil anything or discuss too much, but I think the part that gave me the biggest creep factor was the clapping sequence. It was teased in the trailers but it was a lot more intensive in the final product.

More info regarding the real case of the Perron family and the Warrens work can be found here.


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