Horror is the one genre I usually do not watched in any form of subgenre. Ghost, slasher, creature feature, etc, I usually avoid it at all costs. I think watching all Susana films in my childhood probably scarred (and scared) me for life already. I usually did not get scared easy, but the horror kinda invested in my brain and it will culminate much later. So yeah, the after effect of horror films is what I’m avoiding.
The Conjuring is a story based on real life events of Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Loraine Warren (Vera Farmiga), a paranormal investigator, demonologist, ghost buster, whatever you wanna call it. The film is set in Rhode Island in the early 70s, where the Perrons, a family of 7, just moved in to a crumbling old house. Strange incidents started to happen and quickly escalates to disturbing terror that frightened the children and the parents alike. The Mother, Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) decided to ask for the help of the Warrens. But the dark presence of terror is already too menacing to be destroyed, can the Warrens give the family their freedom back?
There were certainly a lot of buzz generated before the release of The Conjuring. And a lot of people seemed to be very excited about it. I’ve only seen it last week but the theater was still full, I actually had to sit in the front row which is not a good idea when the theater has stadium seating. I actually ended up watching it alone, quite spontaneously I might add. And I was so relieved that it was not as scary as I thought it would be, which is a huge relieve. The audience I watched with was very reactive to the eerie silences and heart thumping moments, surely elevates the overall atmosphere. Watching horror movies in a full theater really give a different experience. (Actually hearing some of them whimpers actually give a facilitating and soothing effect in facing my own fears).
I understand that Annabelle, the porcelain doll, is one of the iconic element of the film. But aside from it being one of the cases that the Warrens were facing, I don’t understand how it connects to the main storyline and to the main antagonist/ghost/evil spirit Bethesda. The film look and feel reminds me of older horror films that I’ve seen (like 1976 Carrie). Even the sound design reminds me of that era and it certainly contributes to the tension and anticipation build up of the film. The scenes consists several long tracking shot that made me feel like I’m a part of the scene, running within the house trying to get to re source of the disturbances.
Another thing that stood out of the film is that it relies on the acting of each characters. Both the adults and children actors are pretty solid. One of the creepiest part that I like was when they play hide and clap as well as the part when Christine Perron (Joey King) feels something pulling at her legs. The film use more traditional make up and camera trickery, instead of relying on too much CGI. Joseph Bishara, who are responsible for the music of the film, appear for the second time as the ghost of Wan films (he was also the ghost in Insidious).
I have to wonder, why in the recent horror films, at least the ones I watched such as Mama (2013) and Woman in Black. In those films including this one feature the main ghost character are mothers with issues with their children. Overall, The Conjuring was a very entertaining horror film with special quality. I don’t think it gonna need a sequel (because there’s already one planned)
THE CONJURING (2013)
DIRECTOR James Wan | PRODUCER Tony DeRosa-Grund, Peter Safran, Rob Cowan | WRITER Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes | MUSIC Joseph Bishara | CINEMATOGRAPHER John R. Leonetti | EDITOR Kirk M. Morri | STUDIO The Safran Company, Evergreen Media Group, New Line Cinema | DISTRIBUTOR Warner Bros. Pictures | COUNTRY United States | RELEASE July 19, 2013 | RUNNING TIME 112 Minutes | RATING R for sequences of disturbing violence and terror
STARRING Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Shannon Kook, John Brotherton, Sterling Jerins, Marion Guyot