A creepy old house in the middle of nowhere, a toddler sized scary doll and throw in a couple of experts in all things demonic and supernatural and here we have 'The Conjuring'. Director James Wan know for Saw (2004) and Insidious (2010) brings us yet another dark and horrifying narrative - well for the first half of the film anyway.
The main thing that put me off is that this is based on true events and for some reason, after seeing this I kind of switched my viewer mode from, this is going to make me jump to this is going to be outrageously scary just because someone put that title at the beginning. I think I was half right. Guys, I'm not going to lie I will hold my hands up (literally) to watching the majority of this film through my fingers, slumped as far as I could go into my cinema seat, longing for the scenes containing daylight but once we find out that this house contains an evil spirit of a dead witch who killed her children and hung herself it loses it's way. The Perrons move to this secluded farm house with their 5 daughters to have a fresh start but they are going to have to through a few hauntings, possession and of course an exorcism before they get a chance to start over. Lili Taylor (Hemlock Grove & High Fidelity) plays the mother Carolyn Perron who gets the raw end of the deal; but Lili really takes this troubled character and runs with it. Alongside everything that is going on, when this event was said to have occurred in 1971, demonologists Lorraine and Ed Warren played by Vera Farmiga (The Departed & Source Code) and Patrick Wilson (Hard Candy & Watchmen) came to the rescue and saved the Perron family. I certainly felt a bit safer when those guys were on screen trying to drive away the bad spirits.
'The Conjuring' managed to built tension, create the perfect atmosphere and vibe reminiscent of classic horror, playing on something as terrifying as possession. For the die hard horror fan though the mixture of practical effects and CGI really ruined it and when a chair levitated and someone was being dragged around by their hair - dare I say it, I couldn't take it seriously. If your a sucker for stuff based on a true story and like a good exorcism with (as I said before) one hell of a frightening child's doll then give it a watch. Just be prepared to put up with a glorified ended which seems utterly impossible after everything this family has gone through. Good - just needed that extra oopmh. Oh and be sure to check out any random bruises with the local demon catchers!
Directed by James Wan
112mins, 15 (2013)