A good paranormal movie is extremely hard to come by these days, especially when you have Oren Peli popping out mediocre films every year. The plots all start to run together, and every film tries to out do the other with more jumpscares a creepier looking villain. With The Conjuring, classic horror film motifs are polished for a clean film that manages to scare without annoying.
Based on true events, The Conjuring tells the story of the Parrons, a family experiencing trouble in their old farmhouse (which they have recently moved in to, obviously). After a series of progressively disturbing incidents, Carolyn contacts Lorainne and Ed Warren, demonologists known for their high profile paranormal cases. Just when life start to get under control again, things suddenly get worse, marking it as one of the Warrens most terrifying cases to date, complete with possessions, creepy dolls, and even the popular imaginary friend.
James Wan, famous for the Saw franchise, has become something of a household name in horror. His movies, particularly The Conjuring and Insidious have a raw feel to them – they aren’t so far fetched that they’re fantastical. Ok maybe Insidious was a bit much, but it was still a nice break from the usual “ghost story”. Despite the realness of the story, there were still so many times I had to stop and mentally ask the Perrons, “Really?” So many times there are slams and crashes that only one member will hear, but the moment one of the daughters sleepwalks into an armoire, the whole house is up. Moments like these are bound to happen in any scary movie, but ten framed pictures just fell off the wall and no one heard that?
Despite some of the sillier holes in the movie, what truly solidifies the scary for me was being aware of who Lorraine Warren is, what she does, and some her past cases. She even made a cameo in one of the lecture scenes, which was honestly just super cool. Gaining tons of publicity for her work on the Amityville Horror case, Warren still looked to help people on the show Paranormal State.
I know, not the best example of a paranormal investigatory show, but even if the show isn’t completely truthful, Warren and the PRS group seem to be helping people who need it…somehow.
All the same, were it not for the familiar name, this movie wouldn’t have been able to keep it’s freaky factor up. Needless to say, it’s easily one of the better horror films to be put out in the recent years, with great acting and story telling. I’d like to think that maybe one day this movie will be on the same level as Poltergeist – scary in its day but when you watch it 15 years later, it’s just cheesy.