Director: James Wan
Writers: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Shannon Kook, John Brotherton, Sterling Jerins, Marion Guyot, Morganna Bridgers, Amy Tipton
Synopsis: Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sequences of disturbing violence and terror
House of Darkness House of Light -The Story Behind The Movie
I'm never playing hide and go clap.....
Although "The Conjuring" is reminiscent of a million other horror movies that audiences have seen before, it's still fairly enjoyable to watch for what it is. Unlike some modern horror films that use CGI, it's almost a relief to see one rely on more practical effects, while using the settings and atmosphere of the film to set up the suspense.
"The Conjuring" is said to be allegedly based on a real life story. Whether that's true or not, I honestly can't say. However, we'll say it is for the sake of argument, and move on. The film focuses on a couple named Roger and Carolyn, who just moved into a new house out by the lake with their daughters. Although one would think this would be a perfect place to raise a family in the secluded countryside by the lake, we soon learn that things aren't what they seem.
Through a series of events, the family discover that their new home is haunted by ghosts. Some of them are friendly, but one of them wants them all dead. And since the family doesn't have enough money to move, they're essentially stuck there. As time goes on, the demonic ghost that wants everyone dead soon starts to cause even more havoc for the family; which forces them to turn to a couple of paranormal experts named Ed and Lorraine Warren.
According to the film, Ed and Lorraine have been in the paranormal business for years. In fact, they even have a dark backstory as well that's quite interesting. Although I'm sure most skeptics will say they probably automatically assume every house they're hired to look into is haunted. However, the film actually portrays them as very down to Earth individuals, as it shows various scenes where Lorraine even admits that most of the spooky noises and paranormal activities that happen are often in the person's mind, or they can easily be explained logically most of the time.
Having said that though, it doesn't mean that every house they look into isn't haunted either, as Lorraine has psychic abilities to see ghosts and read auras. Upon entering the family's home, she immediately detects a strong demonic presence in the house. Needless to say, the demonic ghost doesn't particularly care for the Warren couple intervening, as their latest case even puts their own daughter in jeopardy back home.
Although one could say "The Conjuring" isn't that original considering we've seen a lot of haunted house movies over the years. Heck, we've even seen horror films that feature creepy possessed dolls, and people getting possessed before. However, "The Conjuring" somehow manages to take all these tired story arcs we've seen a million times before, and make them seem fresh and original.
Granted, the story isn't that great, but it doesn't have to be. The plot is decent enough to where it sets up the entire movie just nicely. The settings and atmosphere is very well set up, as James Wan certainly takes advantage of the creepy settings he's having to deal with here.
Although the whole creepy possessed doll angle has been used over a million times in other films, that still doesn't mean that the one in "The Conjuring" is anything to laugh about. If anything, it's arguably one of the scariest parts of the whole film because it leaves most of it's actions up to the viewers imaginations. Throughout most of the film, we rarely ever see the doll move that much, but when it does move from one point to another off camera, and we end up seeing it somewhere else. You can't help but find it eerily creepy. In a lot of ways, I'd have to applaud the screenwriters for this, as they did an excellent job setting this up.
The problem with most horror movies these days that they feel the need to have to explain everything out for the audience; hence it seem less scary and less interesting once you take out the mystery. By allowing the audiences' imaginations to wander, it helps to create something truly scary for the viewer which is something this film plays upon perfectly.
There's even a few times that the kids play a game called "Hide and go clap" that also helps build up the frights in this film. How do you play it you ask? Well, it's simple. It's basically the same as "Hide and go seek", but the only catch is the person who's seeking is blindfolded. After they're blindfolded, the person is spun around a few times, and then the rest of the people playing go out to hide somewhere.
The person seeking the other players is not allowed to take off the blindfold, but they are allowed to request that the people hiding clap loudly enough to where they can find them possibly. From there, the person seeking must use the clapping noises to determine where each person is. The person seeking is only allowed to request three claps from the other players. Needless to say, this little game certainly sets up a lot of scary moments in the film.
As far as the acting goes, I wouldn't go out of my way to say it's anything memorable, but it's still pretty good. Each actor portrays their characters rather well, and whenever one of them was terrified, I did genuinely believe they were scared.
Overall, if you're one of these die hard horror fans that love haunted house style movies, then "The Conjuring" will be up your alley to check out in theaters. However, if you're only a casual fan of horror movies, then I'd probably wait for the DVD/Blue Ray release. In the end, I'd have to give this movie a three out of four. It's not a bad horror movie by any means, but it's certainly not great either. However, if you're into horror films of this ilk, then it's worth checking out.