Release Date: July 19th, 2013
Actors: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor
Director: James Wan
Current Location: In Theaters
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% - FRESH
Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.
I love scary movies. And then, I hate them. There are some I am unwilling to see (Insidious, Paranormal Activity 4, The Strangers) because they look so terrifying that I'm afraid I won't sleep for the next month. But there are some so compelling that I have no choice but to torture myself. The Conjuring is just that.
TAGLINE: Look what you made me do.The plot focuses on a family who recently moved into a house that's clearly haunted. Strange happenings include clocks stopping at 3:07 am every night, the cold, looming figures, random "knocking" and gross odors. After being terrorized, they contact Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators to help ease their fear.
The fact that this is based on a true story (not just true happenings) intensifies the creepiness. I entered the movie with a bit more knowledge about the original story after reading an EW article where they interviewed Lorraine Warren who's in her eighties now. The Warrens are the demonologists who were involved in the Amityville Horror haunting and The Haunting of Connecticut. And they keep all these artifacts from haunting IN THEIR BASEMENT. In that respect, I think they're crazy.
Annabelle, a pretty creep doll also appears in the film.The real life version (in the Warrens' BASEMENT) is more like a pillow whereas the one in the film looks like a marionette. Here's the photo of the difference. (I didn't want to post it here because dolls terrify a lot of people, even me at times.) What it boils down to is that this movie is scary only if you believe it's really happened before.
The plot worked so well. The mother is the one who starts going insane, being picked on by the things that haunt her house. And you fear for the daughters as well.
The acting helped the film tenfold. And I'd say that I was on my toes the whole time, even if some scenes weren't as scary as I imagined them to be. There were no sluggish parts because the story jumped from the family in the house to Ed and Lorraine who have a young daughter of their own.
Ed Warren: We've been called ghost hunters. Paranormal researchers. Wackos.Lorraine Warren: But we prefer to be known simply as Ed and Lorraine Warren.
And Lorraine was so compelling. These are heroes you want to root for. Whenever she looked scared, I was scared. Because she's so freakin' strong that you wonder what could terrify her.
And even though the Warrens are by far the strongest part of the film, they also caused it to be less than scary. Krista and I agreed that if you take out the Warrens -- the safety net, the heroes -- the family is basically all alone in this house, trapped and terrified without any comfort coming in to save them. Having the Warrens around is like having the Marvel superheroes stand guard outside your door. You feel an extreme sense of security throughout the film, which takes away from the scariness.
But for me, horror films don't have to be one-hundred percent pee-your-pants terrifying in order to be great. They have to have a compelling plot, people to root for, and a satisfying conclusion. The Conjuring nailed all three.
If you like utterly horrific films that will have you cringe and stay wide-eyed awake in bed afterwards, then The Conjuring is not for you. I'd suggest Evil Dead which I am still traumatized from. Scariest movie ever (the remake). Never again. Even though The Conjuring isn't as haunting, the plot keeps you hooked from start to finish, and the terrific acting makes the true story seem even more real.
ROBOT VERDICT: A horror film that'll be marked as a classic. You'll want everyone to stay alive, and you'll cross your fingers for more Ed and Lorraine Warren. New haunting please!