Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Conjuring (Movie Review)

The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about "The Conjuring" in about the time it takes to watch the trailer.



 I’ve never quote unquote “enjoyed” a scary movie in my life, but I have found a select few more meaningful than you might think.
The Conjuring is a frightening tale of a family under an apparent demonic attack taken from the real life notes of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The movie follows the families troubles after moving into an old farm house in Rhode Island in 1971 and how the Warrens tried to assist them in understanding and dealing with the scary stuff going on in their new home, and boy is it scary. I do think that is important to mention right away, this movie is intensely unnerving. The filmmakers do an amazing job at building suspense and delivering truly disturbing visuals to ground the reality of this story into our minds. Though it’s hard for me to describe my feelings during and after this movie as “liking” it. I have to admit, I have a lot of respect for the skill displayed in telling this gruesome tale.
The main reason? I think because they chose to approach the topic with a sense of respect. That sincerity in the story was the best thing about “The Conjuring”. From the time we meet The Perron family to final shot of the movie I never felt as if those involved were telling the story in anything less than a sincere and truly meaningful way. Nothing seemed to be tongue in cheek or tritely told. It’s this investment in the reality of this families world that adds a very real sense of dread. Not to mention the performances are beautiful and grounded as well. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga deftly play the Warrens as sincere caring individuals who believe in their work, as opposed to giving them an edge of kookiness or even malice. It’s these choices, and also the incredible work of the 5 girls who play the Perron daughters, that make this movie an incredibly deep and meaningful look at how we handle true darkness when it intersects with our life. I’m sure I’m not the first to say it but it really reminded me of the “Exorcism of Emily Rose” another possession movie that treated it’s subjects with honor and respect. Though this one has much more gore and disturbing imagery than Emily Rose, as indicated by it’s R rating.
The only thing I didn’t like and therefore my worst thing about “The Conjuring”, aside from my usual bias against “scary movies” in general, is that it did occasionally resort to cheap scares. Honestly, It wasn’t all that often, but I always get annoyed when movies throw a jump scare at us. If you want to scare me, just tell me the scary story, saying BOO! only works so many times.
Overall “The Conjuring” is one of just a few scary movies I might actually recommend to a discerning viewer. The message is solid, the movie is superbly assembled, and despite a few cheap scares most of the fear is based in telling this incredible story. It ends up with a surprising B+.
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