the conjuring | james wan | chad hayes | carey w. hayes | patrick wilson | vera farmiga | ron livingston | ghost | ghosts | witch | demon | demons | mystery | thriller | united states | lili taylor | joey king | hayley mcfarland | mackenzie foy | sterling jerins
Film: The Conjuring
Director: James Wan
Writer: Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga and Ron Livingston
This was a film that I saw in theaters and a buddy who came with me, who doesn’t like horror, even thought this was good. I had known about the two main characters in real life due to my mother being a fan of them. The official synopsis for this film is paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.
Now I understand that not everyone is a fan of the real life characters that Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are portraying. Personally for me, I look at these being based off the real life files that they claimed to have experienced and this is just a fictional version of them. I personally don’t believe in ghosts, but I do find some of the films to be terrifying.
For this film, we get introduced to Ed and Lorraine Warren as they are helping some people in 1968. There is a group that has a doll named Annabelle. They tell their story of what happened and the Warrens tell them what they think is really happening. They then help to make sure the haunting to stop, taking the doll with them for a museum of haunted artifacts they keep in their house. We get to meet their daughter, Judy (Sterling Jerins). Ed reminds her not to go in there and never to touch anything.
We also get introduced to a family as they move into a new home. It is out in the middle of the woods and despite its size, it was relevantly cheap. The mother is Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) and her husband is Roger (Ron Livingston). They have 5 daughters, Andrea (Shanley Caswell), Nancy (Hayley McFarland), Christine (Joey King), Cindy (Mackenzie Foy) and finally April (Kyla Deaver). This is supposed to be their dream home, but weird things start to happen almost immediately.
The Warrens go around to different places to give talks about the paranormal things they have experienced. It is during one these we learn that during an exorcism, Lorraine saw something that Ed won’t ask about, but it really shook her to her core. He is worried about her and the work they do. It is after one these talks that Carolyn asks for their help. Ed declines, but Lorraine changes his mind.
This film does some really good things with the scares. The children play a game that is a variation of hide-and-seek and Marco Polo that involves blind folding the person who is It. You get three claps to try to find those you are looking for. This makes for some creepy scenes when the entity in the house also decides to play. It also plays on one of the daughters and her sleep walking. I’m not the biggest fans of jump-scares, but this one does have a couple that got me the first time.
I do feel that the film is paced actually very well. It gets right into the fear and the haunting of the family. We establish the characters in a natural way though as it builds this tension. Not only that, Judy also is affected by this entity, even though she never steps into the house. The museum in the house also gets incorporated. This film does a great job at building the suspense and then giving us a satisfying conclusion in my opinion.
Going along with this, I thought the acting was really good as well. I’m a big fan of Wilson and Farmiga. I don’t know if I ever seen a bad role from them. I will say that they have really good on screen chemistry, which does make it seem like they are really a long time married couple. I also thought that Taylor was fine as the mother of the family. She shows some real emotions and I feel bad for her and what she is going through. Livingston is a good actor, but we really don’t get a lot of him in the film. He was fine when he was on screen. I thought the daughters were all good as well. They go through quite a bit. I do have to give a shout-out to a young King, who kind of looked like a boy back then. I also thought Jerins was good in her minimal role as well. The rest of the cast round out the film well for what they needed.
The effects of the film I thought were well done. From what I could tell, it does seem like mostly were CGI. It doesn’t look bad though. There are some images of the entity that I thought looked really good and it creeped me out. I do like that the film also decided that it also had parts where someone sees something, but no one else does. That scared me more than some of the things we do see. The film does do some good things where things happen behind characters and they don’t see. That is one of my biggest fears. The effects on the whole were pretty solid in my opinion.
Soundtrack for the film really didn’t stand out to me. I’m not saying it was bad, as it does fit the scenes for what they needed. It just isn’t one that I would revisit when I’m not watching the film. I don’t really have anything negative to say about it. It is strategically used as well for jump-scares.
Now with that said, I feel that this was a really good, big studio horror film. I thought that it was interesting to incorporate two real demonologists, despite what your personal thoughts about them. I thought the film was paced and edited well to allow us to get to know them as well as a family that is dealing with a paranormal entity. I like the back-story that was given and the scares that were done in the film. I thought the acting was good across the board. The effects seem to mostly be CGI, but they were well done. The use of shadows helped there which was a good idea. The score of the film didn’t blow me away, but it definitely fit the film for what it needed. Overall I would say that this is a good film and worth a viewing regardless if you like the horror genre.
My Rating: 9 out of 10