Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Now on Netflix: The Conjuring (2013)

The Conjuring (2013) - Directed by James Wan; Written by Chad Hayes and Carry Hayes; Starring Lili Taylor, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston.

By Kenny Howell

Ed and Lorraine Warren, the "paranormal investigators" behind the Amityville haunting, weren't just known for that case which was turned into a book and movie. They also helped the Perron family, a Rhode Island family who were haunted by some sort of demon in their farmhouse.

This, of course, is silly, but that doesn't mean you can't make a good movie out of it. I don't believe in ghosts or witches or demons, but I don't believe in hobbits either. However, in this case, which they claim is based on "true case files", there is some ground you have to make up. And it is also smart to say "true case files" because the case files are actually true. Ghosts are not.

The Warrens come to the house after they are approached by the Perrons outside of one of their lectures. At first Ed resists, but Lorraine agrees. What they find when they get there is an extremely haunted house, and once Lorraine puts the pieces together, she finds a witch lived there long ago and is still haunting the house.

What director James Wan does well is take advantage of silence. Today, most horror movies just rely on things jumping out at you, or a loud score to guide you through it. Wan doesn't. He lets you be in that creepy house along with the characters, your feet hitting the creaking boards in the floor, the mysterious sounds shuffling behind you. That results in probably one of the most entertaining horror movies I had seen in the last few years. The last one I had this much fun with was probably The Descent (2005). Nothing about it is really groundbreaking, it is a just well-executed horror that builds on what has come before it.

The Conjuring is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: ***

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