Movie: The Conjuring
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor
Directed by: James Wan
As we waited for 'The Conjuring' to begin, a message on screen told viewers that if one did experience a panic attack, help was at hand from members of a local group that deals with paranormal activity. 'Hah', we thought. After all, this movie is about a family that moves into a haunted house - nothing we haven't seen before and that only gave us a mild start or two. But we were wrong. 'The Conjuring' employs many old tricks from The Big Book of Horror Filmmaking, but terror hasn't quite felt as real in a long, long while. This film has more than a few moments that'll make you scream 'Don't go there' or just scream because it all gets too much to keep inside after a while.
What's it about?
Soon after the Perrons move to an old house in Rhode Island, demons and spirits of all ages come calling. Desperate to regain control of their lives, they approach renowned paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga). The Warrens don't need much convincing as Lorraine is clairvoyant and sees immediately that the family is in grave danger. From then on, it's a race against time to collect evidence to convince the Church that an exorcism is required before the Perrons are all killed.
What really works for 'The Conjuring' is the kind of relationship the victims and their saviours share. Far from the cold and methodical exorcists we're used to seeing, the Warrens seem to genuinely care about the well being of Roger (Ron Livingston), Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and their five girls, and because of this, the viewer does too. Wilson and Farmiga are fantastic, bringing a fresh sense of humanity to their traditionally anal roles.
As for the thrills - they'll keep you bouncing on the edge of your seat all through. James Wan uses space (or rather the lack of it) to create a climax that's bound to leave you shaken. Also, care is taken to tie up some Captain Obvious logical loopholes nicely, like the reason the Perrons didn't leave their home immediately after the first attacks and why they can't just move out now and let the next tenants deal with the demons.
What to do?
We'll go out on a limb here and say 'The Conjuring' is already the scariest movie of the year and undoubtedly one of the decade's best in the genre. Go watch it but be warned that it may take you weeks before you stop sleeping with the sheets fully drawn over your legs.
in.com rating: 4.5/5
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