“Diabolical forces are formidable. These forces are eternal, and they exist today. The fairy tale is true. The devil exists. God exists. And for us, as people, our very destiny hinges upon which one we elect to follow.”
The film “The Conjuring” is based on a true story. It stars Patrick Wilson (Ed Warren), Vera Farmiga (Lorraine Warren), Ron Livingston (Roger Perron), Lili Taylor (Carolyn Perron), and is directed by James Wan (Saw 2004, Insidious 2010).There are a variety of haunted house films out there, including a previous effort by James Wan himself, Insidious. What separates this film from the rest is the excellent pacing, believable acting, the fact that it is “based” on a true story, and the direction.The story opens up on a previous case investigated by the Warren’s, involving some roommates and a more than creepy doll. The three roommates believe their house is haunted and give permission for the spirit to inhabit the doll, not knowing it is actually a demon and not your average ghost. Ed and Lorraine inform them of their mistake and take the doll with them to put in their collection of items of other past cases, a museum of sorts, for safe keeping.
Then, cut to the case the film is actually based on in Harrisville, Rhode Island with the Perron family. Almost in the middle of nowhere, Carolyn and Roger moved into the old farmhouse with their five daughters.
A series of increasingly terrifying events lead the family to believe they are not alone. It is then that Roger and Carolyn seek out the help of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a pair of distinguished paranormal investigators. After an investigation into the house’s history, the Warrens inform the Perron’s they believe that they are under attack by an evil spirit that has attached itself to their family.
The events that unfold become increasingly horrifying until the end climatic scene.
The Conjuring turned out to be a top notch thriller.
The film is rated R, although there is no real gore or extreme violence. The MPAA felt that some scenes may be too terrifying for some audiences. And judging from the venue I was at, I would agree.
There were times you could feel the entire audience hold their breath only to scream in unison.
I felt director James Wan has a brilliant ability to invoke a mood of suspense and dread using silence, camera angles, and great pacing.The acting from each character, including the five daughters, brought something to the story that made it and the scares feel more genuine without the cheap thrills.
Wan understands the audiences need to stay entertained throughout the film and increasingly ramps up the scares all the way to the end, to do just that.
I would be surprised to see another horror film in 2013 that will top this one.
Grade : A