EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|THE CONJURING (director: James Wan; screenwriters: Chad Hayes/Carey Hayes; cinematographer: John R. Leonetti; editor: Kirk Morri; music: Joseph Bishara; cast: Vera Farmiga (Lorraine Warren), Patrick Wilson (Ed Warren), Ron Livingston (Roger Perron), Lili Taylor (Carolyn Perron), Sterling Jerens (Judy Warren), Steve Coulter (Father Gordon), John Brotherton (Cop, Brad), Shannon Kook) (investigative assistant,Drew); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Tony DeRosa-Grund/Peter Safran/Rob Cowan; Warner Bros.; 2013)|
reminds one of The Exorcist."
by Dennis Schwartz
director James Wan ("Saw"/"Dead
Silence"/"Death Sentence") has another go at making a
haunted house paranormal pic that's not a splat pic
and succeeds in bringing about a fair amount of
old-school chills in this B-film without resorting to
bloody gore. Sibling writers Carey and Chad Hayes
effectively build the tension until its climax reminds
one of The Exorcist. It's based on the true
experiences of the
selfless and intrepid Monroe, Connecticut, residing
paranormal investigator Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and
his clairvoyant wife Lorraine (Vera Farmiga), who help
those in deep trouble over their possessed houses.
These practicing Catholics are eccentric but respected
demonologists, who have devoted their life to fighting
evil. The couple also worked the latter, more
well-known, Amityville Horror case. Though true it
still seems as if the pic has used a host of other
Hollywood eerie ghost stories to get across its scary
moments. Wan, to his credit, treats the tale about a
house possessed by demons and one that only can be
cleansed by a religious exorcism, with utmost
Roger (Ron Livingston) and Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) move with their five
young daughters, the oldest is a high school student
and the youngest a pre-schooler, into a secluded
in Harrisville, R.I., in the fall of 1971, and
immediately discover that the idyllic bargain house
they bought through foreclosure from the bank without
knowing its historical connections to the Salem Witch
Trials is haunted. The early demonic manifestations
include their pet dog mutilated, a locked cellar
filled with frightening junk, a coldness that can't be
removed from the house, strange smells, clocks
stopping during the night, thumping sounds, doors
opening and closing on their own, the girls unable to
sleep without feeling someone else was present in the
room, and there are mysterious dark bruises appearing
on Carolyn’s body.
Ed and Lorraine are called
to investigate the Perron house and when they realize
it's possessed, temporarily move in with the Perrons
to investigate further and offer support.
Learning about the house’s chilling history that
includes witchcraft, suicide and satanic ritual
murder, the couple, along with an investigative
assistant (Shannon Kook) and a skeptical cop (John
Brotherton), use tape recorders and cameras to bring
evidence to get the Catholic Church to sanction an
exorcism. The Warrens believe the Perron family is in
grave danger and must rid themselves of the possession
or face deadly consequences.
It turns into a battle of Evil vs. Good pic, and provides enough creaky noises and supernatural scares to be a throwback film to those kind of enjoyable horror pics in the 1970s. Wan has said he intended to make a “classic studio horror film,” and he certainly accomplished that.
REVIEWED ON 7/19/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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