The Conjuring – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

conjureThe Conjuring – 3/5 – I’ve mentioned many times before, horror films are ones that are the hardest to critique.  The reason for it being the hardest is because these kinds of films dictate against the norm when it comes to story, directing, acting, etc. majority of the time.  What you may find as what defines a great film with other genres, horror films flip that; making you suspend belief, and hopefully either feel the ‘tense’ or ‘horrific’ elements through their own kind of perspective. In The Conjuring, there is a lot of cliché and mundane setup, but because of atmosphere and execution, the film succeeds.  Overall, The Conjuring is a worth, if not just a great tense film.

Premise: Ed and Lorraine Warren are world renowned paranormal investigators.  Out of all their cases, there was one that was kept under wraps.  This case involved the Perron family.  Now, the case has been open, and what was never shown is how the Warren’s help a family terrorized by a dark presence.  Forced to confront a powerful entity, they find themselves facing the most terrifying case of their lives.

When it comes to the film, the acting is divided into two parts: The family and the paranormal investigators.  The movie follows both in paralleling elements for most of the film.  Let’s focus on the Family, and I will do this in a bulletin style:

Father: Rodger Perron (Ron Livingston)

Mother: Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor)

Children: Andrea (Shanley Caswell), Nancy (Hayley McFarland), Christine (Joey King), Cindy (Mackenzie Foy) and April (Kyla Deaver).

The family is as common to any horror film that you may have seen before.  Ron and Lili play their couple role as ‘down to earth’ as possible, bringing forth an aspect worth following and caring for.  This also trickles down to the children actors, as you feel their innocence and teenage antics in the film.  Once the horror elements began to come into play for the family, their reactions are bordering on predictable, but are expected.  The rawness in their emotional draw as they react to the ‘noises’ and ‘images’ is what makes you feel the film, as you would probably react the same way.  When the film get’s intense, their acting are on display, as they bring out the ‘terror’ that anyone would experience in their dire situation.  You feel the force of the demonic elements, even if it’s been overplayed many times before.  With the agents we have the following:

Husband Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson)

Wife Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga)

Equipment Specialist Drew (Shannon Kook)

Officer Brad (John Brotherton)

The second plot line follows the husband/wife duo as paranormal investigator.  From their exposition of their job and journey used by most ‘ghost hunters’, it is brought across familiar, but in a good way.  The way they build their relationship on the screen helps bring you into being a part of their job, as it helps you become palpable of their techniques they use to execute their job.  Their interaction with the family is splendid, and when the ‘dire’ moments happen, their acting come full force, providing elements of emotional value as well as drama to the intensity they bring with their job.  The other two are more of a secondary crew, and only become plot devices more than characters.

The direction of the film follows in the steps of most traditional horror films, then the current ‘gore fest’ that is the new age.  Through this direction, we go along the path of

Prologue of the situation

Introduction to family/person and/or paranormal type elements

Slow buildup

Cross path with (element to fight paranormal element)

Third act

In the beginning, we are introduced to the focus of the film; on the Warren’s case that was never made public, till now.  We are introduced to the family of this particular case, as well as the Warren’s and their job.  We watch as these groups of character are paralleled in the first act.  In this part of the film, we follow the two as followed; exposition of the demonic encounters (narration), the demonic encounter happening with the Perron family (story).  As the movie progresses through the first act, it is done very slowly and methodically.  As strange things begin to happen in the house the Perron’s moved into, we have the ‘ghost hunters’ doing their tour of how situations of these encounters can be true and falsified.  As the film slowly builds, the threads of what is happening at the house begin to connect for the audience, even thought you can predict what happens in the first place.  The tension built through each scene grows a little bit each time, as you become more aware, drawing you in and gripping you intently.  The tension is developed well by the direction.  The director focuses on moments and scenarios, while surrounding it with the emotional crawl of through the music and the actors/actress.   About midway, the film hits a point where the family crosses paths with the paranormal investigators, and they are brought in to end the terror.  From here, I will not explain any further because it would spoil the film.  What I will say is that the buildup, tension, and reasons behind everything culminate very well.  The execution in the climax is precise because of the atmosphere created from the camera angle, music and emotional distraught from everything surrounding these real life elements.

The film’s visuals are both of the norm and outstanding.  The film focuses mostly on the house the Perron’s live in, but the creation is both old and eerie.  When things begin the happen, the visuals are daunting, because of the overcast of ‘darkness’ over the scene.  With the use of singular focus on the house, characters, it creates a homely aura, which makes you cringe, weep and become tense when things begin to happen on screen.  The score is marvelous in this film.  The sounds of the ‘creaking’ and ‘monstrous’ surrounds help bring an eerie dwelling feel.  The music helps make you grasp the fear of the situation.

Overall, The Conjuring is a well executed horror flick.  Building on the traditional elements of slow buildup that focuses on tension and atmosphere, the film will have you creeping out at the right times.  The drawback to this great filming is that cropped in with it is common characters and many predictable elements.  Even if this brings an average kind of experience, it never deters the audience from the general entertaining value of the film.  If you’re a fan of great horror or tense films, and something of a traditional horror flick, this is one for you.

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