So yet another paranormal orientated horror has been grinded out of Hollywood, and onto our screens; ‘Saw’ creator James Wan brings us ‘The Conjuring’, a supernatural chiller which follows Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as real-life ghost hunters, Ed and Lorraine Warren who in the 1970’s aided the Perron family (led by Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) in ridding their Rhode Island country house of demonic spirits. ‘The Conjuring’ has been a massive success in the US, and has been labeled the scariest film of the year, so does it live up to the hype? It might well do.
From the outset, the film simply looks like another one of those predictable ‘based on a true story’ horror films where all of the scary parts are in the trailer, films that have been far too common in the last 5 years or so. However, this is far from the case, ‘The Conjuring’ is 112 minutes of heart-racing, edge of your seat terror, it hardly stops for a breather as the haunting becomes more and more relentless. Despite this, the scares are predictable, although it’s hard not to be in horror films these days; all of your run-of-the-mill chills are there; creaking doors, stopping clocks and of course a moving rocking chair or two.
The validity of the case under the spotlight in ‘The Conjuring’ is a dubious one however, no doubt it claims to be based on a true story, but it does involve the same ghost hunters that were supposedly hired for the Amityville case (the focus of two feature-length films, 1979 and 2005), a case which has been some what unreliable in its validity. In spite of this, it will certainly spark much debate between the sceptics and believers amongst you.
The suspense builds gradually, giving you longer and longer moments of terror as the film progresses, James Wan carries this out expertly, it’s clear he is no stranger to the genre. There are one or two soppy moments between the two ghost hunters that seem to have the sole purpose of filling up time, but they are perhaps necessary in order to provide a well needed breather. Wan also uses the setting to his advantage; there are a variety of shots of the house (which had been recreated on a sound-stage) that really turn the location into a character in its own right. The costumes really add to the terror too, I doubt I speak alone when I say that there’s something about a little girl in a night gown repeatedly banging her head against a cupboard that really creeps me out.
‘The Conjuring’ is a terrifying ordeal, a real popcorn-spiller that doesn’t allow you a toilet break, although it may not be original in its concept and in its scares, it will stay with you for at least a few weeks and sleeping alone will be undoubtedly be a struggle, but it is still certainly worth a watch for anyone who thinks they can handle it.