Time: 102 minutes
Age Rating: Horror & content that may disturb
Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren
Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren
Lili Taylor as Carolyn Perron
Ron Livingston as Roger Perron
Director: James Wan
The Perron family moves into a farmhouse where they experience paranormal phenomena. They consult demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), to help them get rid of the evil entity haunting them.
The creation of The Conjuring universe was unexpected, with three movies from the main Conjuring series, and three spin offs and one of those spinoffs (Annabelle) getting a prequel and sequel of its own. Looking back on the first movie released in 2013 however, it is still a really good horror movie that works really well. It doesn’t revolutionise the genre or anything, but it succeeds effectively at what it seeks out to do.
The Conjuring is a traditional haunted house horror movie, and a well-crafted one at that. One of the reasons it works so well is that it invests quite a lot of time into the characters, both the main family and the Warrens. It does take the story and characters seriously and doesn’t treat them as throwaway typical horror movie characters. I will say I wasn’t as invested in the actual story as much I would’ve liked to have been and the movie isn’t exactly unpredictable, but I was still interested to see how it would play out. Additionally, the story has a tense buildup, and its pacing is measured and deliberate, instead of just rushing into the horror and the scares. This helps to build a strong atmosphere, which is at its peak in the final act. The film being set in the 70s gives it sort of a unique feeling that would’ve been missing had it just been set in modern day. There’s also the aspect that this movie is supposedly based on true events, whether or not you believe it to be true it does give it a unique feel to the story.
The acting is all great from everyone. The leads are Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as the Warrens and they do very well on their parts. They were very believable and sold their performances. The family at the centre of it all played their parts too, especially the mother played by Lily Taylor. Even the child actors do very well as their respective characters.
James Wan has already established himself as a great director of horror, with Saw and the first two Insidious movies, and The Conjuring and its sequel are no exception. The camerawork is greatly carried out and played a key role in creating the haunted and unsettling feeling throughout the movie. As previously mentioned, the movie also benefited quite a lot from being set in the 70s, the production design really does well at portraying this time period, especially in this particular haunted house. While there are some jumpscares (as to be expected from this movie), it’s not the main source of scares in the movie. Also whenever the jumpscares do happen, they actually feel earned and not cheap, and it helps that the movie had been building up a lot of tension beforehand. Additionally, the movie actually lacks any gore or digital effects, which was refreshing to see from a horror movie, its just all scares. The use of sound also played a part in the scares working as well as they did, and the score from Joseph Bishara also worked to its favour.
The Conjuring is a well made horror movie that works on pretty much all fronts. The characters are well written and portrayed by the actors greatly, the story is genuinely suspenseful, and James Wan directs it very well. If you like horror and you haven’t watched it yet, it’s definitely a movie to check out.