I am starting to get a little annoyed with suggestmemovie, I want to get some old 70s/80s flicks to review. They’re the true embodiment of Halloween horror films, but I suppose I better stick to my word and review “The Conjuring”.
It’s based on the true story of the Perron family, whom after moving into a new house begin to experience some paranormal activity (a terribly cliché plot). So they enlist the help of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), who assist them in discovering the true horror of the house.
Now this movie was massively hyped and was dubbed with titles such as “the scariest movie of all time” and “one of the best horrors of the decade” etc. Usually I don’t buy into this kind of sensationalism, but after reading about the real story of the plight of the Perron family, I began to start thinking “hey, this really could be a truly scary film”.
I have a very split opinion of this film, due to the fact that I feel that the story was sacrificed in order to make the film seem more scary. I just felt that director James Wan (Saw) didn’t really take advantage of the importance of a storyline in a paranormal horror film and how it can be used to bolster the fear amplified onto the audience. The protagonists managed to step in immediately, clock on to what was happening in the house and put measures in place to stop it then everyone lived happily ever after. It was that linear. No curveballs were thrown, no twists, nothing. Admittedly there are some points that are creepy and uncomfortable, but as far as paranormal films are concerned, the most terrifying thing is the fear of the unknown and the feeling of helplessness displayed by the victims, Wan seemed to opt for shock scares compared to psychological scares.
On the other hand, the parts that are scary are terrifying. There’s no doubt about that at all. The special effects weren’t overused or abused, which presented the antagonist (if you will) as a much more realistic, terrifying entity. The house itself had an eerie air about it, but James Wan does have an aptitude for managing to create creepy, seedy sets as we’ve seen with his work on the Saw films, and one can see how his talent is transferred to the Perron house.
People compared The Conjuring in a negative light to William Peter Blatty’s “The Exorcist” (1973), which I believe is extremely unfair. The Exorcist is quite literally a horror masterpiece; The Conjuring however is full of cheap scares and jumps and all in all is a completely different film. The Exorcist is psychologically scary in the way that at the time nobody could comprehend the terror they saw on the screen and it was arguably the first truly scary horror film. The Conjuring comes from a line of possessed house films, which include “The Amityville Horror”, “The Haunting in Conneticut” and “Sinister”. None of which are particularly scary, but at the time of viewing, they do deliver some scares. People know what to expect from these films now, but I would say that The Conjuring is the best of a(relatively) bad bunch.
The musical score does deserve a note, as sound plays a massive part in the generation of fear in a movie and Joseph Bishara composed a brilliantly spooky score to accompany certain scenes.
Paranormal/Haunted House: A few shock scares, so be ready with your blanket.