Ghostly horror movies nowadays are really ultimately all kind of becoming the same. A person or family moves in or goes somewhere, and progressively paranormal stuff happens until something tragic happens to the mortals involved in the whole situation. Sadly, The Conjuring fits that template and accordingly lacks in a number of areas.
Staring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston
Director: James Wan
The Conjuring is based on “true events” that happened to the Perron family in the 70’s. The family moved into a fantastic farmhouse in 1971 and stayed until 1980. In this farmhouse resided several spirits, most of which were harmless except for one in particular known as Bathsheba. There are a number of happenings in The Conjuring that are considered accurate according to Andrea Perron (now in her 50’s) but there are several fictional accounts in the movie as well. Since this film is adapted from the investigation notes of Lorraine and Ed Warren and less from the Perron family, there are some apparent differences. The grand farmhouse that the Perron family moves into is essentially cursed. A previous owner who happened to be a witch, had made a faithful union with Satan and done unspeakable things, then cursed the land. The large plot of land was later split into multiple parcels and anyone who attempted to take ownership of the land (through obviously modern, legal means) was haunted and eventually cursed resulting in murderous happenings. Carolyn Perron seeks the assistance of Lorraine and Ed Warren, the O.G. ghost hunters. The couple quickly realizes that some terrible things have happened in the home and after investigating, discover the truth about the things that have happened not only in that farmhouse but the other neighboring parcels of land as well. The Warrens try to get a church sanctioned exorcism scheduled, but things escalate faster than they expect.
First things first, I really like Lili Taylor and I really think that she is a far better actress than a lot of people credit her for. Lili plays the matriarch of the Perron family, Carolyn. She has clarity in her acting and everything she does seems so natural and organic. The patriarch of the family is Roger, played by Ron Livingston who you may remember from Office Space. This role is a big takeaway from many other roles he has done, and it is suiting because I think Ron wasn’t the best choice for this role. Ron always has a sort of overly relaxed goofiness to him and it just doesn’t fit well. Obviously I didn’t know Roger Perron but I have a feeling that a father of 5 girls who is a trucker, would not be as relaxed as Ron seems to be all the time. The movie itself is shot very nicely, starting out bright, well lit and warm feelings. The house is often shown as a little dark, dusty and aged. The spooky spookiness really only reveals itself but once, maybe twice through the movie which is nice compared to other ghost flicks such as The Ring where you see the specter a lot. I don’t want to give away the ending, but I think that it was really well done. James Wan, the director, also directed Saw and Insidious so he brings a wealth of talent and ability to The Conjuring. James is most definitely very capable of making the viewer feel the emotions as the family struggles in their battles with evil.
All in all, The Conjuring is another ghost haunting movie. The thing that separates this from the others is that it is based on “true events”. It is spooky, has moments of intensity, but is sadly very predictable. This would be a fine addition to the DVD/BluRay collection of any paranormal ghost fan; it’s good, but not great. My biggest beef with this movie is the title, to conjure to make some appear through magic. The only magic involved in this movie is debatedly involved with the initial witch, however that is where any kind of conjuring proper ends. There are a slew of other names I could think of, what do you think would have been a better name for The Conjuring?