The Conjuring is an interesting film to look at with a degree of retrospection considering the current media context with it now having sequels and spin-offs. So how does this modern horror tale hold up when taken in the current industry meta? Something worth noting is the direction of this feature, the care taken is some shots or scenes (a scene of a walk introducing us to the characters taken in one shot comes to mind) is proof that this is different to many horror films and sets a new bar for the modern examples of the genre. With modern horror films misunderstanding the genre and attempting to terrify the viewer through jump scares, exploitation, and gore this film presents itself with a certain level of quality and class allowing it to be enjoyable even to someone who isn't a huge horror film fan.
So how are the scares though? well the film does very in breeding tension early in the film allowing for the fear to grow long before we ever see anything. Once we see what we are supposed to fear the tension has grown to a point that the scares hit hard and will leave you not wanting to be alone in the house. To an extent these scares are hampered by the effects which is some cases are done well while in others is does impede the scares to an extent.
The actors of the feature give decent performances (particular the child actors) though not exceedingly noteworthy. Where this film is in an odd situation is how it has become a part of the modern horror genre and over time has in fact become more and more generic. With a The Conjuring sequel, the Insidious series, and the Annabelle spin-offs the films feels incredibly standard horror fare despite it once seeming to be high quality. I you are a fan of horror film you will likely be able to enjoy this feature as something above the standard feature however if you have seen the films that it shares many common grounds with it is now just another film full of stereotypes and lacklustre attempts to trick you into believing the story is real.
This is THE scariest film i have ever seen, yet it is the most interesting. The Conjuring was released around august last year. We initially visited the cinema to watch this film where both me and my partner thought it was going to be another typical ghost story, but we were very wrong.
The plot of the film is very interesting. Ed and Lorraine Warren, a Demonologist and a clairvoyant, visit a families home who are been tormented by a spirit. Ed and Lorraine are real people who actually did the job which is shown in the film, which makes it so chilling.
The Perron family make contact with Ed and Lorraine, when they are giving a lecture about what they do. They visit the home and are quickly told that the spirit that is haunting them is so hateful, and Lorraine is worried about the spirit.
As the film progresses, the spirit becomes more and more active, the clocks stop at 3.15am each morning. The children wake up to the smell of rotting meat, which is typical for ghost films, but one of the children sees a figure standing behind the door. When her sister walks up to do the door and tells her there is nothing there, the door quickly slams shut!
It turns out that a witch killed her child, swore her soul to the devil and hung herself from a tree in the garden. I will stop there, as i do not want to give all the film away, but they is a truly terrifying film. I have always been a horror fan, but this film actually made me jump in the cinema. Be aware, this is not for the faint hearted!! You have been warned! The DVD can be bought for around ten pounds on amazon.
The film interested me that much, that i actually did some research into it, it turns out the story is true for most of it, some bits have been put in to make the film more interesting, but most of the story is true. There is books called, House of Light, House of Darkness available in three volumes which are the best books i have ever read in this genre.
Unfortunately, Ed Warren has passed away, but Lorraine still lives in the family home where they keep objects that have been in hauntings, possessions and a whole manner of spooky things, including the famous Annabelle doll, which had an evil spirit attached to it..
For anyone who is looking for a scary film with a truly interesting tale, and based on true events, watch this film, you will not regret it!
In 1971 the Perron family (Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarl, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver) move into an old farmhouse. A series of unusual events lead the family to enlist the help of psychic investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Famiga respectively). The Warrens discover a history of suicides and murders that have taken place on the surrounding land that once belonged to the owner of the Perron’s house. This owner had been accused of witchcraft who had tried to sacrifice her child to the devil and eventually killed herself in 1863, cursing all those who lived on her land...
Not being a person who is typically in sync with populist or intellectual taste, I guess I should not have been surprised by the response that met “The Conjuring”. Whenever someone discussed horror in social media circles this film kept reoccurring with favourable reviews of the possession/haunted house hybrid horror. The general public seem to have found it to be a genuinely scary movie, which has hit the right nerve at a time when so-called “reality” shows like “Ghosthunters” and “Most Haunted” and misleading partisan documentaries about possession have established a strong mainstream following ripe for this type of “true story” horror. The canny team behind the film’s modest $20,000 appear to have got their timing right. With minimal thought “Found Films” and “Torture Porn” along with gory B-movie send-ups saturating the horror genre for well over a decade, someone clearly thought it was time to go back to the 1970s and unearth a few more tricks. That person might well have been the film’s director, James Wan, who first found fame with the original “Saw”. The academic critical response seems to go along these lines. From what I have read their consensus of opinion is that the film executed “old school” proven concepts well, making up what it lacked in originality with sheer style. Even so, I was flabbergasted to discover that “The Conjuring” is one of the highest grossing horror movies of all time and the high praise being heaped upon in horror and general movie review magazines and websites.
It is my guess that a lot of the things that made the film the darling it has become, grated on me. The fake true story premise is a long established method. The 1974 “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is perhaps the most notorious example of using this method with its film having even less tenuous links to the murderer and body-snatcher, Ed Gein, than “Psycho” or “Silence of the Lambs” (neither of which used this device). “Inspired by true events” is probably a less deceptive description of such films, but I guess it is all in line with the oral tradition of telling campfire urban legends. The film heavily dramatizes the events in the Perron household, which is only to be expected, but it the way the film really tries to force you to believe in the film’s heroic psychic investigators that I find annoying. Early on we have a rather clumsy scene created to demonstrate Ed Lorraine’s integrity. We are shown that he knows the supposed difference between a haunted house and natural phenomena that a client mistakes for a haunting. Needless to say, this was much better handled in 1999’s “Stigmata”, where we see a world weary caught off-guard.
Ed and Lorraine Warren get the dubious credit of taking the archaic practice of demonology and combining it with Victorian Spiritualism and turning it into a business. By giving it a type of mainstream religious respectability via Christianity – especially Catholic exorcism - and actively publicising their various sensational-sounding cases, they laid the seeds for the blossoming ghost hunting industry we see today. Indeed, many of today’s psychic investigators were trained by this duo. Looking back through their history, we see they rarely missed a trick. The Warrens career included them tackling various different colourful spiritual entities, including a werewolf spirit and the case of “The Amityville Horror”. Of course, “The Conjuring” is the witch episode. The witch, in question, turns out to be Bathsheba Sherman, a relative of Mary Easty, one of the many unfortunate victims who were hung for witchcraft at the infamous Salem Witch Trials. The implication here is that Easty was a witch, which is an outright insult to her memory and the other innocents who perished in a time of terrible ignorance and superstitious belief. With Ed Warren now deceased, Lorraine was a consultant on this film and even got a cameo. Imagine being involved in such a deeply disturbing case, where you were taken to your mental and physical limits, and then coming back to appear in a Hollywood dramatization of said event to appear like Alfred Hitchcock/Stan Lee for your fans. The mind boggles.
From dolls and music boxes to the type of demonic possession scenes that haven’t moved on a great deal since the original “The Exorcist”, the film seems to be a buffet of paranormal horror clichés that lacks any sort of charm. I don’t like the effort that is made to suspend disbelief, which seems to be worryingly preachy. Even “The Exorcist”, which was backed and pushed by the Catholic Church, and based on a novel written by a believer who had been inspired by the story of a young boy’s exorcism, did overtly push this onto its audience. Like any art, it is often spoiled if we feel like we are being persuaded. As if to undermine this serious approach taken throughout the film, we get special effects that are reminiscent of “Paranormal Activity” and seem at odds with the 1970s atmospheric style of movie James Wan seems to be trying to recreate.
My review has come across largely as negative, but I think that is more of a reaction to balance the overzealous response I fee has been heaped upon a largely uncreative picture. The acting is reasonable if not outstanding in any particular way. The dialogue is unmemorable. The sets are excellent. The visual effects look set to date very fast and out of sync with the movie’s feel. This is not always the case, as can be seen in the most recent adaptation of “The Woman in Black”. There is certainly flow between the scenes and tension is built relatively well, which is no less than I would expect from this particular director. There is no denying James Wan’s ability at handling genre films, but his recent work on “Fast and Furious 7” appears to show that he is probably closer to the Michael Bay cynic than the Peter Jackson geek in this respect.
The Conjuring is a 2013 film directed by James Wan and was released in the UK 2nd August. It is a film based on the events of The Perron Case which was investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren, the same paranormal investigators that explored The Amityville Haunting.
I remember seeing the trailer for The Conjuring in early 2013 with my boyfriend during one of our other movie trips and since then have been quite interested although I am not usually very good with horror films, particularly those with a supernatural element however the time frame between that first trailer and actually seeing the film on the day of release gave me a real sense of curiosity. I did a little reading up on some of the other work the Warren's had been involved in and thought this would be an interesting horror film. It really was.
The plot focuses on the Perron family, a mother, father and their five daughters who move into a large farmhouse with their family dog, Sadie who at the start refuses to enter the house. After numerous supernatural events including Carolyn being stuck in basement all night and her daughters being attacked by an older, dirty lady they seek out help after Carolyn attends a paranormal class hosted by the Warrens. They then come to view the house and see how they can help, before concluding the house is in need of an exorcism. They then leave to seek permission from the Vatican which is when events seem to get worse.
The opening scene is terrifying. Just showing half the face of a really creepy china doll that is known as "The Annabelle Doll". Its an excellent way to introduce who the Warren's are, what they do and how they help people and this is all done in the first few minutes of the film. Straight away the audience has an understanding of Ed and Lorraine Warren portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. Both of these characters give an outstanding performance throughout of the paranormal investigators, a non-ordained demonologist and a clairvoyant. The film had a slight documentary feel between scenes where text would appear on screen for the viewer to read a little more information about the case which helped you identify with the characters and made the film feel just that little more real.
Obviously being a horror, and a supernatural one at that, jumpy scenes and strong CGI would be expected but with thanks to James Wan that was not the case. There were plenty of jumps, bone chilling scenes and a great amount of suspense however it was done old school horror, with intimidating camera angles, quick close ups and intense focus where you expect something to jump out at any moment. In terms of scares, this film does not disappoint. Special effects were fairly limited although this only added to the general atmosphere of the film and they were done incredibly well and in a realistic fashion. It really made you believe you were watching a real haunting rather than a film.
The soundtrack throughout was very effective focusing on whispers, heavy breathing and a loud base effect when a spirit was in the room with the characters. Adding to the era the songs played were classic 70's style songs which made the audience feel a part of the film rather than a viewer.
The actors involved all put on good performances. It focused solely on the family with a few outsiders and didn't really stray away from the house except to talk about other cases the Warrens had been involved in or to view the Warrens private life with their daughter. Their was a particularly frightening scene involving the daughter, Judy, and the Annabelle doll whilst Ed and Lorraine were travelling home. It was a little predictable but done in such a way that it did not disappoint nor distract the viewer from the film.
To summarise, The Conjuring is a really good horror, and I haven't seen anything like it for a very long time. Any fan of James Wan will enjoy this and anyone looking to watch something that focuses on a good old fashion ghost story will find it an interesting take. Despite clinging to my boyfriends arm throughout I enjoyed it very much.
Also on ciao! kattwig