Saturday, October 26, 2013


Directed by James Wan
Produced by Tony DeRosa-Grund
Peter Safran
Rob Cowan
Written by Chad Hayes
Carey Hayes
Starring Patrick Wilson
Vera Farmiga
Ron Livingston
Lili Taylor


Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are paranormal investigators who have been helping cleanse houses afflicted by ghostly and demonic possessions for a number of years.   Their tales have been heralded and refuted by experts and eyewitnesses alike for decades.  The Conjuring, released in 2013 is a supposedly true account of just one of many of these investigations.

Here we are introduced to a traditional, cookie cutter family, the Perrons who claim there is an entity in their home terrorizing their 5 daughters.  Mother and Father (the amazing Lily Taylor and weren't you the guy from Office Space Ron Livingston) track down our ghost hunters and desperately beg them to their home.  Although hesitant, The Warrens agree to visit the home and check things out.  Upon their arrival Lorraine is overwhelmed with the darkness pervading the walls of the house.  Something is definitely there and wants this family dead.  SO, they rally their team of investigators who set up shop in the Perron home and havoc ensues....terrifying havoc.


Walking into these types of films I am always a little leery.  Us horror fans have seen it all and admittedly it takes a lot to creep us out.  How many times can you see a ghost floating across a room (I'm looking at you The Uninvited) before you reach for the remote and turn on the Food Network (shut up!  Guy Fieri is at a Greek Restaurant!)?  This film is different.  Director James Wan, most widely known as the director of Saw does a wonderful job setting up tension.  The scares in this film are real.  They are primal.  They are relatable.  For instance, there is a sequence with the daughter of the Warrens that raised major chills and certainly got me thinking why the Warrens would ever take trinkets from the houses they cleanse.  

This film, unlike many others these days utilizes very little gore and very little special effects to attain it's goal of scaring the shit out of you.  A number of times in this film we do see CGI but it is never OVER used and is ALWAYS effective and necessary.  There are sequences in this film that will chill you and stay with you long after the credits roll due to the fact that the effects team went old school.  Toward the end of the picture a sheet is used to absolute terrifying effect.  Putting a sheet over your head hasn't looked this scary since Halloween.  Kudos.

The pacing is also a concern in these types of films.  Normally we sit through 30-45 minutes of setup before some stuff goes down.  NOT THIS MOVIE.  It cranks from the get go and never really lets up.  The scares are nearly constant.  The breaks you do receive are completely necessary and are gladly supportive of character development, which also gravely lacks from modern horror. 
 The acting in this film is top notch, particularly from Lili Taylor (who single handedly carried the horrendous remake of The Haunting) who lets it RIP.  Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga do a great job portraying the toll cleansing houses takes on their own psyche and Ron Livingston is very adequate as the long suffering father who is rendered completely helpless in defending his family.

The cinematography and lighting in this film are key to its pathos.  The lighting in particular contributes to about 75% of the scares here.  It is what you don't see that is far more unsettling.  For example a shot on the stairs of the cellar in which a match keeps going out made me jump to the ceiling of my apartment.  The inevitable climax is enhanced by awesome overhead and off centered shots that slightly disorient the viewer and heighten their anticipation.


Horror fans united on this movie and that should tell you something.  For us jaded horror geeks to find something interesting is definitely an accomplishment in and of itself.  We are the hardest market to please and we were definitely pleased by this film.  It is scary, well acted and written, and is one that will become part of my library VERY soon.  Check this one out.  Best horror film of 2013.

I will give this 3 OH GIRLS and 1 NO SHE DIDN'T!

Until next time....Happy Slashing!
Brent Fabian