The Conjuring (2013) follows the story of demonologists Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) as they investigated the paranormal activities in the Perron Family farmhouse back in 1971. With the Catholic Church’s blessing, the Warrens must uncover the secrets behind the haunted land to even have a fool’s chance of removing the spirit that haunts the Perron family and the investigators themselves before someone loses their lives.
The Conjuring is a creative interpretation of one of the most fascinating cases investigated by the Warren family, the Perron family’s haunting. Given that this movie was partly about a real-life story, it will immediately capture your attention as the Perron family gets harassed by an invisible spirit and makes you want to root for them and the Warrens as they try to deal with the demonic presence.
The horrors experienced by the Perron family for years were brilliantly condensed into two hours, which garnered numerous critical praise when the movie first debuted in 2013. And with its R-rating, expect to see a lot of gratuitously disturbing scenes that will definitely have you keeping your lights on when you go to sleep.
The ending is also a classy cliffhanger that will definitely make you want to watch the other films related to the Warren investigations of other Paranormal Phenomena, which will most likely scare the bejeezus out of any sane, healthy human being in this side of the universe.
The script is surprisingly comprehensive yet succinct, despite mostly based on the Warrens’ tapes during their multi-year investigation. They were able to portray the Warrens’ positive outlook through encouraging dialogue when the scenes required it but also managed to scare the wits out of us with some of the most cryptic and harrowing dialogue ever uttered by a supernatural demonic spirit.
In this film, we also appreciate that much of the reveals and twists are done implicitly, meaning the audience must use all of the information they’ve seen or heard in the movie to understand what’s actually happening. This shows James Wan’s trust in the viewers’ intelligence, and that trust has certainly paid off as this film helped launched his directing career into the stratosphere.
Characters and acting
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga’s portrayal of Ed and Lorraine Warren, respectively, was quite convincing. They were able to capture the couple’s wholesomeness and strong-faith attitude, especially in exorcism scenes wherein a priest wasn’t present and had to conduct the exorcisms themselves.
But what impressed us the most was how these brilliant actors were able to deliver the impending emotion of fear in every scene that they were in, even when the scene didn’t even call for it. There wasn’t a safe second in the scene whenever these two were it, which sounds strange at first until you see their on-screen chemistry.
Also, it was a refreshing sight to see actual wholesome characters in a horror flick. Ed and Lorraine’s marriage is a model that we’re sure most married watchers are sure to emulate.
Music and cinematography
The music brings another level of atmospheric tension in the scenes. Director James Wan had brought Composer Joseph Bishara, who also composed the chilling music from Insidious and crafted one of the most intricate and haunting background music we’ve ever heard in a horror movie.
The timing and the notes all hit the right spots when a horrifying scene develops in the movie and helps bring the tone needed for the movie. One would be remiss to say that this movie’s music is one-half of the entire film’s fear factor equation.
And of course, there is the brilliant cinematography by James Wan. Coming off his 2011 hit horror movie, Insidious, James Wan managed to somehow create the most wholesome R-rated horror movie of all-time.
Sounds strange? Let us explain.
Insidious was given an R-rating, which should be normal for any decent horror movie in its own right until you watch the entire movie and realize that there isn’t a shred of sex nor gore in any part of the film!
James Wan makes full use of tension and atmosphere to create a psychological bubble of fear in your mind as you follow along with the story. Sure, there’s going to be a few demons and shadow tricks here and there, but that he brings to the table is a deep understanding of the human psyche and the triggers that make us feel the way we feel, and in this case, he’s making us feel sheer utter terror.
We also would like to commend James Wan’s use of old-school scares, which is a refreshing change of pace when compared to the CGI heavy, blood-heavy flicks that most horror movies have unfortunately declined to in the past several years. This film features scenes that will be familiar to long-time horror watchers.
If you’ve ever seen one of James Wan’s movies, or if you are a true lover of Horror, then The Conjuring is a must-see and should at least be on your watchlist with brilliant performances by its lead actors, captivating music, and the psychological guerilla warfare that James Wan has waged on whoever dares to watch this amazing movie.