Director: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston
Review Written By: Michael Dalton (Prime Minister)
The Conjuring is based on a true story and one of the cases faced by the Warrens, a husband and wife paranormal investigation team played by Patrick Wilson (Who starred in James Wan’s Insidious) and Vera Farmiga (Not unfamiliar to horror on the big and small screen with roles in Orphan and the series Bates Motel). The set-up is rather simple and generic, a family moves into a house and things get spookier and spookier until they eventually turn to the help of our protagonists, who must then face literal as well as personal demons.
With the original Saw, Insidious and now this, James Wan is THE horror filmmaker of this generation. While the franchise he created in Saw would proceed to create a reputation based on excessive gore, Wan instead follows the Hitchcock school of slowly and meticulously building tension to an almost unbearable point. The Conjuring is a slow film that builds and escalates brilliantly, as Wan’s previous horror hit Insidious did. In fact watching this, one can see why the Fast & Furious franchise has turned to him for their seventh installment. An atmospheric horror filmmaker and a car based, action franchise may not seem like a normal or natural fit, however as I highlighted in my review for Fast & Furious 6, that film also had a true sense of escalation.
The Conjuring is a film that in other hands could have easily been clichéd and not scary, however Wan’s direction makes these horror clichés scary once again and he even turns them on their head, not doing exactly what you’d expect of him and the film. Through the Annabelle doll and the clap game, which the brilliant teaser trailer showcased, Wan creates some instantly iconic images and moments. The way in which Wan goes about producing these ultimately chilling moments, means the film has a bit of a slow start, however once the film builds to its conclusion, it doesn’t feel like a film that had been wasting any time. He also doesn’t overdo the horror and achieves suspense through simplicity and practicality. Unlike Insidious, the force behind all the scares isn’t as explicitly shown and detailed, leaving more to the imagination.
While James Wan in the star of the show, the film is well acted and unlike many horror films has actual characters with an actual dramatic arc and character development. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are two of my favourite underrated actors and they both spearhead this film excellently. They are thoroughly believable and bring tangibility to the potential ridiculousness of what they are doing and saying. This is a film that gives them more to do than others horror movies would and the film has a degree of depth and naturalism to its characters. These aren’t your typical dumb horror movie characters doing stupid things; this is a classy film in its presentation, techniques, story and characters. The family themselves demonstrate once again how child actors don’t always have to be annoying; with Ron Livingston being a good low budget Kyle Chandler.
Ultimately The Conjuring does have its clichés, starts a bit slowly and has some predictable elements but it is a thoroughly engrossing, substantial and effective horror film. As the film ended and we were left on its final shot (The best final shot of the year and one of the shots of the year in my opinion) I felt a chill run down my spine and I put my hand to my heart and felt it beating much faster than it was prior.
Movie Parliament Rating: MAJORITY GOVERNMENT
By Movie Parliament Prime Minister,
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