Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Conjuring

"The Conjuring" (2013, James Wan, The Safran Company, Evergreen Media Group, New Line Cinema, Warner Bros.) is a haunted house/possession/witchcraft film from the director who brought us "Saw", "Dead Silence" and "Insidious".

Based on a true story, we meet the Perron family.

Roger (Ron Livingston) and Carolyn (Lili Taylor - the werewolf's mother from Netflix's "Hemlock Grove") have just moved into an old house in Rhode Island with their five daughters. Upon moving in they begin to experience strange happenings - from random injuries, to scary closet monsters, to creepy imaginary friends.

Eventually it all becomes too much to ignore as the apparitions become more menacing and the family seek the help of the famous paranormal experts, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga).

A very traditional haunted house tale that can be compared to the likes of "Poltergeist" and the "Amityville Horror" and with a bit of "The Birds" and some "Exorcist" thrown in there too.

Excellently acted and very engaging, this crowd pleaser had the audience in Glasgow squealing, whooping, jumping and then laughing self-consciously at their antics. It was a really good experience!

The film is quite a rollercoaster of jump scares and fun cinematography. Whilst it relies heavily on predictable horror tropes and slightly overused scenes (creepy old lady in a rocking chair, for example), it likes to feint jumps and get you back when you least expect it and you really feel for the characters' plight.

However, as usual with Wan films it seems, the hectic ending of constant pulse-pounding moments begins to feel more like a series of scenes with lessening terror intensity and more hilarity. There's just too much going on!

The Annabelle doll sub-plot (also really a job the real life Warrens have worked on) is fantastic and could easily spin-off as a whole film to itself! I do love the prop which is one of the creepiest yet and knocks Billy the Saw dummy off his little pedestal.

All in an excellent experience and a film I enjoyed! Hardcore horror fans might like to bump their gums about how 'predictable' this or that is, but the truth in the matter is I jumped in that cinema, so Mr. Wan, I take my proverbial hat off to you. Much better than "Insidious"!

[Image: Warner Bros.]