The Conjuring, 2013, USA
Director: James Wan
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Famiga & Lili Taylor
Today was the first time, to my knowledge, that I have ever been on two cinema ventures on the same day. My friend whom I went with, mentioned some interest in seeing 'The Conjuring' a few weeks back but he had never really seen much Horror (preferring films along the lines of 'Speed') so it was always going to be a fun experience to see a Horror film with a horror newbie so to speak, especially one that has as much positive buzz as James Wan's latest offering.
Based on the true story of a family whom moved into a rural farm house and begin experiencing some horrifying apparitions, they enlist the help of renowned paranormal investigators Ed & Lorraine Warren, but even the Warren's had never experienced a haunting as disturbing as this.
I was actually a fan of Wan's previous film 'Insidious', I thought it had a really great first that built suspense brilliantly and had some genuinely scary moments, but unfortunately the last half was too cartoonish and lost all credibility when the entity was revealed to be the illegitimate offspring of Freddy Kruger and Darth Maul. Fortunately Mr Wan has learned from this and with 'The Conjuring' has made Horror film that is able to maintain a constant level of quality throughout.
Some may say that this is a film that takes a little too long to get going but I think its refreshing when a Horror film takes its time and strategically places its scares and doesn't try to throw everything at the audience from the get go. It's honestly suprising that 'The Conjuring' has such a high level of quality, I dont mean that as a knock to Wan as I do like the guy but it just surprised me that he helmed a film that exudes such quality. From his well his well timed direction to Chad and Carey Hayes excellent script. 'The Conjuring' is a film that will constantly surprise you and not just because of the scares.
I had never heard of the Warren's or this case before I saw this film but if even a majority of the events that took place in this film actually occurred in real life, then it makes it all the more frightening. The film is able to build some really impressive tension and will most likely keep audience members on edge until the big jolt. 'The Conjuring' features some really terrific scares throughout, culminating in a very nerve wracking climax that really delivered on all the good work that had been done prior.
The film really benefits from its terrific cast. The brilliant duo of Patrick Wilson and Vera Famiga portray the Warrens and do a fantastic job with it. Regardless of the quality of whatever shes working in, she is always great and her performance here is absolutely no exception, Definitely one of the best actresses working today. Wilson also continues his constantly consistent form with another good showing. The whole Perron family is also tremendous, all the of the kids give completely believable performances and really sell the fear of their situation. Ron Livingston is also good as the father but it is Lili Taylor who damn near steals the show. Taylor is a very familiar face but the only thing that I kept recognizing her from while watching the film was the god awful first segment of 'Four Rooms', she was really fantastic here and was completely believable as the frightful mother of the family, her work in the last half of the film was really great. The biggest flaw in the cast was John Brotherton, whose bumbling cop character made absolutely no sense to me.
For me, 'The Conjuring' has been one of 2013's nicest surprises. A really good Horror film that delivers on the scares and tension. James Wan seems to be really understanding the genre and here's too hoping 'Insidious Chapter 2' is even half as good as this.