- Rev Horror
Dir. James Wan (2013)
A family lives in a house that may be haunted, possessed, or both. Things don’t get better.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Ed and Lorraine Warren are two of the most hated people in horror nowadays, as they have been “exposed” as charlatans by everyone who feels like picking up a pen or writing a blog. However, it’s really easy to stand back and view everything from an areligious or skeptical point of view almost fifty years later. This is neither the time nor the forum to criticize their beliefs or to debunk their critics, however, and I will not try to do so because most people have already made up their minds either way. What I will instead say is that, if they’re lying, they’re outstanding storytellers and the Conjuring series is based off of those stories.
Oh, and this one too. Ya know, just little movies.
The frustrating thing about horror is the attitude that many fans in the community have towards more popular franchises. People critique anything that’s popular, and horror is often in the midst of undergoing “hipster” type cycles where the things that the general public likes are too mainstream or popular to be any good. The Conjuring series suffers greatly from these amongst the horror faithful, but the box offices speak for themselves. And, quite frankly, if we were all a little less cynical, the movies would too, starting with 2013’s The Conjuring. (Actually starting with Insidious, but that was a different series of movies so we’ll start here instead)
The story revolves around a family who moved to a farmhouse in Rhode Island that is inhabited by a demon. This demon is trying to possess the mother of the family to facilitate the murder of the children. It is quite successful in this, and while the movie is a bit more dramatized than real events would’ve been, it’s very scary and really well done. The clap and seek scene alone is one of the scarier scenes in modern history, and you cannot tell me that you didn’t shrink back a little in your seat the first time the little girl said that you could listen to the creepy song playing in the music box and see her imaginary friend in the mirror. The camerawork is tremendous, filled with dizzying spins and smooth tracking shots. The effects are outstanding, particularly the floating and upside down chair that the possessed woman is strapped to in the basement.
The power of Christ compels me to get the fuck outta here.
The Conjuring spawned a universe because it was fucking amazing. Easily the scariest movie in a long time, it started a huge new trend in horror to make supernatural movies the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the 80’s. It was out with the cheese and in with the scares, and every horror fan who has enjoyed a movie in the last 10 years should be grateful. James Wan is a true horror master, and to just think of him as “that guy who did Saw” would be a tremendous disservice to a man with a true legacy in horror already (See Malignant review). If the criticism of Ed and Lorraine have prevented the appreciation of these movies it’s a shame, because the movies stand on their own as some of the better entries in the 21st century.
Who this movie is for: Literally everyone, it’s one of the highest grossing horror movies ever, Haunted house and/or possession movie fans, Critics of Ed and Lorraine Warren who just want to revel in their “rightness”
Bottom Line: The Conjuring is great, idgaf, fight me. And if you don’t like them, you might wanna tune out for a bit cuz we’re about to do a deep dive in all of them! James Wan is a terrific director who shows an absolute mastery of horror filmmaking with The Conjuring, and the actors were excellent in delivering his vision on camera. Filled with creepy imagery, stellar camerawork, and some of the earliest major Hollywood usage of the scary-ass violin-heavy scores that seemingly every movie uses now, The Conjuring is now firmly within the New Mount Rushmore of horror films.