Director: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor
Rating: “You get three claps” but 4 and a half out of 5 Annabel dolls, oh and a whole lot of shivers. This is pretty much a horror hole in one!
James Wan is becoming a master. Saw, Insidious, and now this? He is pretty much, more or less singlehandedly ushering in a new age of skilled, sensible horror auteurs and making films that go against and beyond the silly sex-filled gore-fests that supply more nudity than scares per minute, leaving antsy genre fanatics like me craving something with a little more class, style, and oh I don’t know, chills and screams and jumps maybe?!
I ramble like this because The Conjuring is a welcome change of pace from remake flops which often dominate the horror genre lately (Evil Dead not included, if I may digress) but isn’t necessarily revolutionary either (like Cabin in the Woods had been, as I digress further)
The film, as a result though, feels classic and simple. It tells the true story of Demonologist and Clairvoyant pair Ed and Lorraine Warren investigating what was allegedly their most malevolent case. In 1971, the Perron family of 7 moves into a house in Rhode Island where all the usual supernatural things start occurring. But these bumps in the night are nonetheless chill inducing, unpredictable, and fun. It plays all the formula’s cards to terrifying perfection from beginning to end. We grow to really like the Warrens and the Perrons and their 5 daughters, especially when the former’s work follows them home and their stakes become intertwined with those being experienced by the latter (not to mention amazing performances by Lili Taylor, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, and Ron Livingston, of course).
There is no real gore, just some really chilling camera work and all the other great special and makeup effects inherent in a haunting/possession tale, and a spirit who is not as complex as that in Mama (another horror movie digression/name drop. Sorry all) but certainly evil as hell… No pun intended. Oh yeah, and that horrible but therefore amazing doll. You’ll see what I mean. Basically, it’s a horror movie that just works. Super well. It is smart, emotional, and just plain effective in a refreshingly old fashioned way. So go see this movie if you like being scared but with more of a story and less of the blood and guts.