The Conjuring (2013)


It’s amazing how James Wan once went from the man who brought us movies about a maniac torturing people to one of the most horrifying ghost tales ever brought to the big screen. “The Conjuring” lives up to its hype as a slow boil and immensely scary supernatural tale about an average family terrorized by a vicious demonic entity that’s intent on ruining their foundation from the inside out.

Based on the accounts of Ed and Lorraine Warren, “The Conjuring” centers on the Perron family who move in to a large house in the middle of the country after falling on hard times. What begins as a series of mild coincidences in their house involving random noises and odd sightings soon transforms in to an all out battle against evil as parents Carolyn and Roger decide to strike back against the evil that’s overtaken them. Like most great supernatural tales, director James Wan builds on the tension and atmosphere and doesn’t wholly rely on CGI to strike fear. Most of what’s depicted in “The Conjuring” is based on imagination and implied horror, while director Wan plays with shadows and peripheral vision to invoke horror.

Most of the hauntings begin as slight incidents and escalate quickly, as the family finds it becoming tougher and tougher to battle the demonic presence within their abode. Wan focuses partly on Ed and Lorraine Warren and their efforts to fight the supernatural, as we glimpse in to their home life, and the very scary prologue involving a seemingly possessed doll. Like all of Wan’s supernatural entries, “The Conjuring” is dripping with dread and sheer unnerving suspense that always build in to sudden disturbing imagery played to the proper effect and never shock value. Though “The Conjuring” is one of his most straight forward horror outings to date, every element of the story garners key importance to the resolution of the tale. From the prologue involving Annabelle the doll, right down to the land surrounding the Perrons, “The Conjuring” is one incredible masterstroke of horror storytelling that leads in to an immense finale.

Much of “The Conjuring” doesn’t try to sell its surprises too early, opting instead for anticipation before the bang. Once Wan decides to begin paying off with frights and spooks, he plays every production element to its efficiency. From sound, to editing, right down to slow pans, it’s all so incredibly taut and gripping. Ron Livingston and Lily Taylor are enormous as the Parron parents pushed to the end of their wits when they realize they’re overpowered by this entity. They’re being corrupted and destroyed by all corners of this mysterious house and can do nothing but pray and hope for the best. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are fantastic as the supernatural investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren who find themselves exhausted after a past supernatural confrontation.

Much in the realm of “The Exorcist,” they’re both weathered journeymen who find themselves facing their greatest menace with the Perrons. Once they enter in to their home, Wan amps the terror significantly, staging many disturbing moments, one of which include Lorraine’s brush with a hanging body on a tree, and her emotional experience with a vision of her daughter. There’s a very noticeable wear and tear within the portrayals of the Warrens by Wilson and Farmiga, making them very charming and flawed heroes that work toward keeping the Perrons from falling in to the spell of the demonic entity plaguing the house. “The Conjuring” is an old fashioned and incredible scary ghost picture very much in the tradition of “The Haunting” and “Even the Wind is Afraid.” It’s atmospheric, terrifying, and brilliant in its intricately placed bouts of horror and suspense. It’s surely one of the best films of 2013.

Now In Stores. Buy It Here.