Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
Movie: The Conjuring (2013)
Plot: Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.
Review: The success of The Conjuring isn’t inexplicable, but it is damn near unheard of for a movie that falls squarely in the horror genre. It single-handedly brought new life back to the possession/haunted house sub-genre. It was a hit with both fans and (most) critics, and with a single film made more money than entire horror franchises ever did. While both Insidious and Paranormal Activity also saw success in this arena, the horror movie EVERYONE was talking about in 2013 was The Conjuring. Directed by another modern day, master of horror James Wan (Insidious/Saw/Dead Silence) and starring the talents of Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel/The Departed) and Patrick Wilson (Aquaman/Watchmen).
The Conjuring smartly chooses to tell stories found in real life, making the supernatural occurrences feel all the more possible and, therefore, all the more terrifying. Vera and Patrick play real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren and fans of horror movies will instantly recognise the names, as they were heavily involved in another “real” haunted house-turned movie, The Amityville Horror.
I won’t go into too much details on the story here, as scares work better when you don’t see them coming, but I will talk about how Wan managed to take the classic haunted house story and modernise the scares in a way most horror fans would never expect. Now I’m no stranger to these types of films, but I went in unfamiliar with this director’s style and in doing so, found myself gripping the armrest of my chair and trying my best not to jump out of my skin when things loudly went bump in the night. Hell, the trailer alone was more terrifying than any other horror movie I had seen that year (it’s all about those clapping hands), so I should’ve known I was in for something different.
The acting here is also a big selling point, as this is no cast of unknown up-and-comers who probably did a few commercials or music videos before getting their big break. Farmiga and Wilson are the backbone of this series and their chemistry alone makes you want to see more of their ghostbusting together, but they don’t have to carry the movie alone as Lili Taylor (the ONLY reason worth watching 1999’s The Haunting) , Ron Livingston (Office Space) and even all of the kids (including a very young Joey King) deliver in spades. You will find yourself fully immersed in their lives and genuinely afraid for their survival.
I’ve wrote numerous articles praising this film and the sequel, which in my opinion was even better, and sadly, like most horror movies, the scares don’t hold up to multiple viewings. But the world, the atmosphere, the characters, both good and evil, that James Wan created here will never loose their lustre, and I for one can’t wait to see what new nightmare will be conjured up (wink wink) to scare and delight me in the future.
Sommer’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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