The conjuring is a genuinely scary, well made horror film, something that is so rare to see in modern horror and if it wasn’t so cliche then it could have been one of the best horrors of recent years.
The conjuring is directed by James wan, famous for directing what seems like every single horror film of the past 15 years. From saw to insidious James Wan has directed so many infamous horror films and has proven himself to know the genre inside and out. This film stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Ed and Lorraine Warren “paranormal” investigators who’ve solved thousands of haunting s and ghost sightings. They have been tasked with cleansing a family’s house with what the family believe to be a ghost. The film for its first half is just setting up what’s actually going on in the haunting and who Ed and Lorraine Warren are. The second half is all about the Warrens trying to remove this paranormal entity. The plot never gets dull, however it’s so cliche that at times it makes the plot very predictable. For example there’s a dog at the very start of the film and it’s acting strange around the house (if you’ve seen any horror films you should know that dog is as good as dead already) and surely enough within the next ten minutes that dog is dead. The film is full of horror clichés like that and it’s disappointing considering how well done every other aspect of this film is. This could be partly due to the fact this film is based off a “true” Ed and Lorraine story. But if that’s the case surely, as the beginning said, they have solved thousands of cases, a more interesting and obscure one would be better. To be fair they tried this with Annabelle and while this made over 250 million dollars profit it was awful and ruined everything that was good about the conjuring, relying too heavily on jump scares and even more clichés. I think if there’s so many interesting cases then maybe a TV show would be a better outlet for this. Every week could be a different case,but keeping the same cast and James Wan directing, this way we see all the same things that were great but for an hour each week (which this could have easily been condensed into). While the story is very cliché it’s still well crafted, the structure and way the scares come work very well and you are definitely never bored.
Moving on the cast in this film is amazing, every actor and actress really stands out as someone different and even the child actors are good at what they’re doing. As I’ve said before if it wasn’t for the cliches then this would stand out even more, but it says a lot that even with these clichés the cast are still brilliant. The family manage to portray the fear of being possessed very well with only the husband sometimes dropping in standard. Vera Farmiga stands out to me as the best actor, with Patrick Wilson a close second. Vera plays her character with a sense of insecurity that works really well for her skeptical role in this film. She really convinces you of the supernatural presence and when she’s on screen you genuinely feel safe like she and Patrick Wilson will protect you from what’s hiding around the corner. That to me is a sign the film is doing a good job, when the characters in the film are getting comfort from Ed and Lorraine Warren being there, because they will hopefully save them if it goes horribly wrong, and when I am equally getting that same comfort then it’s testament to the great script and cast. Patrick Wilson does a very similar thing to Vera and it works tremendously well, however the aspect that to me worked the best was that the cast are all very likable and you can easily attach to any of them. Both Vera and Patrick have amazing chemistry between them and it really feels like they are a real couple which only adds to the atmosphere.
Now for quite a bit of this review I’ve mentioned the word cliché, however the use of actual scare clichés is very minimal. James Wan knows exactly how to scare someone and that’s via tension building. I’m heavily against jump scares (the silence and then loud noise with no actual fear), their a cheap cop out excuse for a scare and I’m very happy that this film uses none of them. If a “jump scare” is used its done properly. The scares in this are all very well crafted scares, James Wan makes sure tension building is the only real scare and that the tension normally leads to something truly horrible.Its the perfect example of how horror films should scare people. It takes a hell of lot to scare me and very few films manage it (oculus, it follows and now this are the only films i can think that have scared me) so i’m very impressed that James Wan could genuinely instill fear in me and make me very uneasy when watching this film. This film does its job of being a horror film and through its masterfully crafted scares and tension building it can become something that is surprisingly scary.
The directing in this film is exactly what you expect from James Wan, I’ve raved about him a lot during this review and that’s because hes brilliant. He knows what hes doing and manages to create something that blows every other Ed and Lorraine warren film out of the water.The cinematography in this film is beautiful and there are some amazing shots which have stuck with me (Something that very rarely happens), at times there is the odd poorly executed shot but for the most its really good. The film has an amazing soundtrack and it really helps build the tension, I particularly like the more orchestral like songs which are really creepy. The film is very big on practical effects, something that James wan is a big advocate of, its definitely something that helps make the film more believable and scary. The use of no ghosts for the most part of the film (no physical appearance of a ghost just word of mouth) is also something that works tremendously well, for example there is a scene in which one of the girls is pointing towards a door and saying theirs something in the shadows. There’s nothing actually there, but as you are yet to see whats haunting them your imagination does perfect job of imagining something horrible.Its a great tactic that makes the audience create there own fears and become more scared than ever anticipated by James Wan.
To conclude, the conjuring is one of the bet modern horror films of recent times. While its very cliche story could be heavily improved upon it really pushes the boundary’s in every other aspect of the film.The acting,cinematography and soundtrack are all great an genuine scares and practical effects come together to create something that is genuinely scary. Its a rare occurrence a film this good gets made and i’m very excited by the prospect of a sequel.
Written By Dawson Roberts
Release Date- July 19th 2013
Directed By- James Wan
Produced By- Tony DeRosa-Grund, Peter Safran, Rob Cowan