Review: The Conjuring / Cert: 15 / Director: James Wan / Screenplay: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes / Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston / Release Date: Out Now
Similar in tone to Insidious, The Conjuring is based on the real-life case of the Perron family. During the early '70s, the family’s Rhode Island home was the scene of a paranormal attack. Unknown to the family, a horde of murders, suicides and general nastiness had occurred for over 100 years at the site. With initially just a few strange goings-on, it soon becomes apparent that there is something in the house, something that has bad things in mind. Before long, the family makes the decision to call in the Warrens, Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine (Farmiga), who are a married couple specialising in demonic cases.
Firstly, this film definitely matches up to Wan’s earlier films, likely being the best of the bunch. Atmospheric, tone-perfect and with scares aplenty, The Conjuring is simply one of the best horror films in recent memory. Wan captures the spirit of the '70s expertly, delivering a similar tone and texture to many films of the era. Amazingly, there is no gore, no explicit language, no sex – this film gets by on scares alone.
Without throwing scares out there for the sake of it, The Conjuring's strength lies in its subtleties and timing. The cinematography is charming, and the score, setting and pacing all add to the overall bigger picture. The performances of all involved, be it the younger members of the Perron family or the more established names on show, are all great. Wilson and Farmiga are ideal as the Warrens, whilst Taylor and Livingston are pitch-perfect as the troubled Perrons.
It really is a rarity to get a genuine horror classic these days. The Conjuring is most definitely in that category. It provides suspense, drama and terror throughout. When you think there’s about to be a lull or that the story’s about to take a predictable route, things change up. Whilst all films of this nature have some element of predictability, The Conjuring manages to keep things fresh and the viewer on the edge of their seat.
The Conjuring is a fantastically constructed and crafted film that all fans of horror should make it a priority to see. As well as the fantastic main feature, the Blu-ray release includes some decent extras, including a look at the real Ed and Lorraine Warren, and a catch-up with the real-life Perron family on whose experiences the troubling paranormal events of the film are based.
Extras: Three Featurettes – Face-to-Face With Terror / A Life in Demonology / Scaring the ‘@$*%’ Out of You