by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
Do you believe in ghosts? Better yet, do you believe in demons? It may be split down the line with believers of paranormal activity and those non-believers. With shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, a spike of interest in paranormal activity and investigation has spiked over the last few years. But this isn’t a new phenomenon, especially if you know anything about Ed and Lorraine Warren, famous paranormal investigators with over 4000 cases in their files. They are widely known for their investigation of the Amityville Horror house and the Harrisville, Rhode Island home featured in the recent film, The Conjuring.
In 1971, the Roger and Carolyn Perron (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), along with their five daughters, move into the new home located in Harrrisville, Rhode Island. The move goes smooth enough, but early on, strange things start happening around the home. From unexplained bruises, phantom smells, people being tugged on during the middle of the night and clocks stopping at 3:07am. But soon it becomes much worse, to the point that Carolyn seeks out the help of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). The Warrens decide to visit the home and take a look, only to find out that the Perron family is in much more danger than they could have ever expected with demonic forces at work intent on destroying the family.
It’s hard to get excited over “haunted house” films, especially with so many being more of the slasher thriller types. But The Conjuring is what could be considered an albatross or Sasquatch of this genre. It’s a film about a haunted home, which is rated R, but not for blood and gore that is common in a “ghost” film these days. Rather, The Conjuring receives its R rating for the pure horror and terror it delivers, along with some language. And because it is able to build such intensity with great camera placement and the eeriness of the home set in 1971, The Conjuring sets itself apart from other typical films of the genre.
Though the Warrens are better known around the United States, especially if you know anything about paranormal research, one may think this film is predominantly about them. And while it is, to some degree, this film plays out more as an ensemble set up. The actors develop their characters and the script makes it easy for the actors to flesh out the moments which are needed and to play to the story’s strengths. The Perrons act as a family who realize something bad is finally happening to them and how does one respond in a situation where you have no control? The Warrens, investigators of many cases, are put to the test when the situation reveals to be more than they had bargained for. And, with the exception of one, maybe two parts, all of the characters act and respond in a way that a typical, rational person would, given the situation and the context. Basically, they do what you and I would do, and not the typical “Oh, it’s a super dark room with no lights, lets walk in there” unbelievable moments.
It does feel a little early for a film such as The Conjuring to come out. I mean, this would probably fit much more into the October month theme. But during summer where big blockbuster films are prevalent, it’s nice to have something a little different, especially when it’s of the quality that The Conjuring delivers. So, for those who like real horror that makes you thankful you don’t live in homes like that found in The Conjuring, this is a can’t miss film. Enjoy!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars