Finally some smart characters in a haunted house movie.
“The Conjuring” follows the Perron family, that includes Carolyn (Taylor) and Roger (Livingston) and their daughters. The family moves into a house out in the country and as time goes on they begin experiencing some strange phenomenon. Things start moving on their own and it appears that there is a spirit of some kind that haunts their new home.
Enter Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine (Farmiga) Warren, two specialists in the super natural who the Perrons seek for help. These two, who are actual specialists in real life and which this movie is based around, come to the house and begin their investigation.
During that time they have to help the Perrons and deal with their own issues, too.
The story of “The Conjuring” works very well, especially with things that happen in the second act. Most of the time during this act in a haunted house film, the story will have this phase where one or all of the characters will not believe what is going on and just try to ignore it or say there is a logical explanation.
This movie throws that out the window and the family immediately brings in the Warrens to help with their problem. This does two things, it allows a greater build up because the Warrens are able to tell what is going on step by step, and also, it gives the Warrens more of a backstory which adds a whole new dimension.
Another turn around from some other horror movies is that the characters here are very likable. Both the Warrens and the Perrons are all very well portrayed here. The Perron family explains why they took the house and have no where else to go because of financial issues, so we see more of their plight. And the audience is shown that Ed and Lorraine’s career is taking a toll on their own family life. Adding just that amount of depth and relatability really improves the picture and raises the bar.
The performances really bring the characters to life and make them very believable.
With both of the couples in the movie that are going through this experience, it was nice to see that they had strong chemistry. Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston as well as Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson did very well on screen.
The supporting cast, which included some assistants for the Warrens and the children of the Perrons, was also nicely pulled off. Especially with the Perrons’ children who were never annoying or got on one’s nerves, like for example, the kids in “The Purge.”
The scares in the movie had some nice buildups too. Using good camera work and more practical special effects, Director James Wan really pulls off setting up a nice creepy atmosphere. There are a few jump scares, but they aren’t the only thing that Wan relies on which is a plus. The creepiness really kept the mood of the movie going.
“The Conjuring” is one heck-of-a-good horror movie, in fact, it’s probably one of the best over the past few years. The characters are likable and relatable, an audience can really root for them, the story moves along well and doesn’t stumble in areas that other flicks of the genre can do, and most importantly the film is able to produce a very nice scary atmosphere. High 4 out of 5.