Right now no one is better at horror than James Wan and this is only further proven with The Conjuring. With such films as the original (and best) Saw, Insidious, and Dead Silence, Wan certainly knows how to bring the scares. As unnerving as his previous efforts may be, it is his latest that truly shows off his incredible ability to not only scare the audience but bring out the story and make it scary in its own right. He takes a premise that is already anxiety-inducing and adds things to make your palms really sweat. A true horror film should make you feel uncomfortable; it should hit you in a way that is unexpected. With each new film, Wan has progressed in every area leading to the culmination that is The Conjuring.
When I heard that this received an R rating for simply being “too scary for a PG-13” I couldn’t help but get excited. Everything I’ve learned told me this was nothing more than a marketing ploy, but it was pointless to fight it. It was the question of what if; what if it really is THAT scary!? The possibility was too much to ignore. So against my better judgment I let myself get hyped up. My hopes were high, which I hate doing because it mostly leads to a letdown, but I also had the confidence in James Wan. I knew that if anyone could make this story a truly terrifying film he would be the man to do it, and he did!
The year is 1971 and The Perron family (Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) has just moved into their new secluded farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island. In the beginning this seems like a wonderful place to raise a family. A big home with lots of open space, what’s not to love? It isn’t long however before things start to take a turn for the terrifying. Voices are heard when no one spoke, things fall that couldn’t do so without influence from an outside force. This is just the first stage, things are about to get much, much worse. Before the family realizes what is happening their very safety becomes jeopardized when a malevolent entity begins terrorizing their every moment. With no other alternative they turn to paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) for help. This is their area of expertise but even this case is nothing like anything they have experienced before. Every time Lorraine, a known psychic, experiences an evil entity otherwise known as a demon she loses a bit of herself to the evil. It takes an irreversible toll on her physically and mentally and with such a major case like this she may not make it out in one piece. Ed, being her husband, makes it his job to protect her but in the end he knows that she is the key to solving this and bringing peace to this family. They have seen evil in many forms but with this case everyone is in danger and it appears there is no way out. At about 3 a.m. the fun really begins so, tonight, it might be a good idea to keep your feet tucked in and maybe keep a light on. Good luck…
Last year a film came out called Sinister which I absolutely loved. As scary as that film is The Conjuring is on a whole other level of scary. I feel that Sinister was more about disturbing content whereas The Conjuring is about scaring and discomfort, pure and simple. It makes you forget to blink as you watch so intently, waiting to see what’s around that corner or behind that shaking door or beneath that ominous looking bed. What I believe makes Wan such a true horror genius is that I think he knows that no matter what he shows on screen, nothing is more terrifying than the audience’s imagination.
He uses our own imagination against us, filling many scenes with little to no sound and a slightly shaking camera to create truly tense and nerve wracking moments. Having said that many moments are soundless, he also utilizes a wonderful score composed by Joseph Bishara to create loud and almost dizzying scenes of terror. Loud bass shakes the theater, small sounds of an untuned piano ruminate throughout a room filled with people that are so frightened that a mouse could be heard anywhere in the vicinity as no one moves or barely even breathes. It is all about those moments just before the reveal, the imagination runs wild and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. So just sit there, sweat it out and hold on for dear life. This is not for the faint of heart. Horror movie of the year!
Rated R for: sequences of disturbing violence and terror
Run Time: 112 minutes
After Credits Scene: I have to be honest here; some idiot cut the projector off the moment the credits started so I have no idea if there is anything. Sorry.
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston
Directed By: James Wan
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 5/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer: