Saturday, October 26, 2013

Film Review: The Conjuring (2013)

The Conjuring (Review)
United States/2013
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...this is one of the best horror films in a long time."

In 1971, the Perron family moves into a timeworn farmhouse. As odd events begin occurring at the home, and as they become more and more physical, Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) recruits renowned paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) to help stop the paranormal attack.

The Conjuring continues with Ed and Lorraine helping the Perron family. Off the bat, they feel the paranormal presence and recognize the many signs, so Ed and Lorraine begin to capture evidence for the church. The strong demonic presence makes itself known with ferocious attacks and spooky appearances. The story really starts off as a traditional haunted house horror thriller, then slowly blends a strong possession element similar to that in The Exorcist; it's such a great blend that keeps the audience hooked, terrified, and interested from beginning to end. And, what a memorable ending it is: the ending is shockingly effective and tense, and it even gives paranormal fans a hint at the future of this potential series.

The Conjuring is a very consistent horror film with very effective horror elements. The story may have been done before, but the horror is so genuine and well-made that it makes it forgivable. This isn't a jump-scare gallery like Insidious, rather it's a dreadful and suspenseful horror film. The atmosphere alone is fills the room with dread. The suspense keeps you at the edge of your seat, it keeps you holding your breath; really, I love the strong suspense element, it differentiates the film from being just another jump-scare marathon. The jump-scares are unique and surprising, and conservatively spread throughout the film. There are plenty of spooky visuals, including a creepy doll and haunting demons that can shock you when they appear. The possession elements are believable, chilling, and effective, matching those of The Exorcist. And, all of these elements compliment each other well, and are persistent throughout. This is a genuinely petrifying film that blends a dramatic story with pure terror.

The acting is great from the entire cast. I'm a fan of Patrick Wilson, and I'm glad he turns in a great, believable performance. I think Lili Taylor really stood out the most, though, with a very genuine performance. James Wan's direction is perfect, masterfully crafting every scare and conjuring unbearable suspense -- he is a master of suspense. The cinematography is dark and gritty, and the camerawork is engaging and creative. The music is chilling, really a spine-tingling soundtrack. The writing is balanced well, focusing on character and story, and implementing the right balance and blend of terror.

Overall, The Conjuring is a terrifying film with superb direction, great acting, and a plethora of scares -- from the jolting jump-scares to it everlasting creepy visuals and suspense. It's a very effective horror film that stays with you long after your first viewing, but entices you into another. The blend of haunted house and possession is creative and effective, the possession elements feel thought-out and well developed, unlike films such as The Rite. Hands down, this is one of the best horror films in a long time.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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