Film Review: The Conjuring

2013 horror/thriller: Directed by James Wan; starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor.
[rated R] Stars given: 5/5.

LORRAINE: Do you remember the thing you said on our wedding night?
ED: Can we do it again?
LORRAINE: No! The other thing, that God brought us together for a reason.

There are many historical hauntings that have become famous over the years from their widespread fame thanks to Hollywood; Amityville, Emily Rose and her exorcism, the Snedekers in Connecticut, their stories have all become famous thanks to the films based off of their “supernatural events”. And, now, Hollywood adds one more name to their long list: the Perron family.

In “The Conjuring”, paranormal hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren are called upon to help the Perron family rid themselves of the odd happenings in their new Rhode Island home.

What do you mean, the house comes with ‘an extra set of helping hands’?

Clearly, if nothing else, this is a good example of making sure you check into the house’s history before making the final purchase. Sadly for the Perrons, the state of Rhode Island doesn’t actually require home sellers to disclose “documented paranormal and supernatural hauntings” to their potential buyers, so they moved in not knowing a thing about the previous (and numerous) deaths or the curse of Bathsheba Sherman.

Anyone who has seen the trailer has had a good laugh over a scene that is supposed to invoke fear, but falls short thanks to the ridiculousness of the fact that it’s mocking the game “hide and clap”. For those who are unfamiliar with this game, it is a lot like “hide and seek” combined with “Marco, Polo”; the seeker is blindfolded while the other players hide, but, once the seeker has counted to ten, they are allowed to ask for three claps from the other players in a vain attempt to find the hiders and “win”. Sound like a lot of fun? Apparently, it’s good to spice the game up with possibly malicious ghosts.

Do you want to play a game? D’oh! Wrong Doll!

Thankfully, the film is a lot scarier than the trailer makes it look. There are plenty of tense moments, superbly sparse effects, and an excellent score that makes use of a strong, reverb bass to (literally) shake the audience up. Are there jump scares? Of course there are! This is a horror film after all; however, “The Conjuring” uses them sparingly and with tact, rather than cheap scares.

It is reasonable to ask: is this film actually based on true events, lived and experienced by real, living people or is Hollywood trying to pull another “The Fourth Kind” on its audience? According to all sources available, “The Conjuring” is based off actual events— Bathsheba Sherman really did kill her child, there were multiple deaths on the property, and the Warrens really did examine paranormal events as a living, including the Parron’s Rhode Island farmhouse –although some of the facts given in the film were punched up a little for dramatic effect.

A strong cast of actors, along with some pretty talented effects, bring this incredible (if not possibly true) tale to life in a rather haunting way, making “The Conjuring” a must see five out of five film.

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