Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Movie Review: The Conjuring

This 2013 horror film has had a great influence on me as a fan of horror. I didn't catch this film in the theaters but in anticipation of the sequel, I watched it again right before. This movie is scary. It has one thing that always scares me and that is freaky looking ladies with messed up faces saying all sorts of creepy stuff. The film is set in the past so there are no cell phones or internet communication to investigate the haunting and it is loosely based on the true story.The movie is directed by the new horror master James Wan, director of the first two terrifying Insidious films, Saw, Death Sentence, Furious 7, and is signed on to Aquaman. I'm a big fan of his work.

The story revolves around the real paranormal investigators Ed and Lorrain Warren. Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) is studying demonologist who attempts his first exorcism. Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) is a medium who can sense dark presences. They introduced with their investigation of the Anabelle doll that a group of young women invited into their house. They start to see all sorts of strange things happening and notes from the doll that grow threatening. Ed and Lorraine take the doll back to their house and put it in a room where they keep other possessed objects.

The main haunting occurs at the house of the Perrons, a family struggling to get by who thinks they found a deal but actually find something much worse. Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) keeps waking up with new bruises and notices that the clocks have all stopped at the same time. Roger Perron (Ron Livingston) constantly travels leaving his wife and kids to drive a truck. He notices strange things too and then the dog winds up dead. They also find a hidden basement that was boarded up and filled with old objects. The ghost story is probably not real but it definitely makes it pretty spooky that they claim to base it on a real story. The movie also has several spooky scenes with a music box that threatens to be really terrifying but play on that tension and the audience expectations more so than jump-scares. 

There are plenty of jump-scares as well as the haunting grows worse for the family. Certain scenes scared the hell out of me like the clapping blindfold hide-and-seek game and when that angry witch appears on top of the dresser. Eventually, Carolyn reaches out to the Warrens for help and they come to the house to discover the evil history. They set up cameras to gather proof so that they can bring it to a church for an exorcism. They see strange things and then Carolyn becomes possessed.The haunting becomes even stronger with a creepy nurse and all sorts of horror like people flying around and strange images. 

The Parrons leave the house after the eventful night. The demonic presence steals Lorraine's necklace and pursues her daughter, using the Annabelle doll as a conduit. The Warrens must return home to help their daughter but Carolyn captures her daughter and brings her back to the house. In an intense exorcism scene, Ed performs the ritual while Lorraine reaches out to Carolyn to help expel the demon. The Conjuring inspires the spinoff of Annabelle, which is also getting a sequel. This horror series can be considered a huge success even if the direct sequel doesn't make a ton of money. The idea of a paranormal investigator or two going on several different mission inspired me to write a series of novels about a similar situation though a bit more fantastical. I look forward to seeing where this universe goes. 

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