With old school scares and a great use of moody atmosphere, The Conjuring is one of the best haunted house horror films to arrive on the big screen in a long time. The latest in long line of true ghost stories/hauntings (think of the most famous ‘based upon’ haunting, The Amityville Horror), this movie has many clever moments and does an excellent job of what it set out to do: provide real jumps and scares to an audience. The film loses some of its scares towards the end, but the journey more than makes up for any flaws.The film’s plot is actually a ghost story within a ghost story. It starts out explaining what the day to day lives of Ed and Lorraine Warren consisted of…Ed and Lorraine are/were real people, and if fact, considered the mother and father of paranormal investigation. They are very respected in their field. Their lives are explained by the cases they take and are involved in, and the lectures that they give based on their work. And work they do, for in the movie (and in real life), they have a room filled with items taken in various possession cases. The various items are locked away where they can no longer do harm.
The second story takes up the rest of the movie and it is based on an actual timetable of events that happened in the early 1970s at a farmhouse in Rhode Island. The “true story” is a rearranged and expanded for the film, but the core of the haunting events match the family’s true story – or as close as a Hollywood horror film can match real events. The real events took place over a period that lasted ten years while the Perron family lived in the house. In the movie, of course, everything is sped up and dramatized with great zeal.
What makes The Conjuring great is there are multiple ghost stories taking place inside the house. The house and property have a bloody history that has resulted in multiple deaths on the property which means the audience is in for lots of scares. The main haunting is the mother that hung herself on the tree outside the house, but there is also a little boy that haunts the basement and girls’ room (mainly the wardrobe). The basic cursed elements of the story follow an evil woman who owned the land in the 1800s and that the locals say was a witch. Also a housemaid has a place in the haunting of the house and appears on the porch and in the entry way.
The use of multiple spirits give the film an intriguing spin, and is one of those facts that makes the story believable.
A stellar cast completes the old school horror effects: Ukrainian-American actress Vera Farmiga plays the physic Lorraine Warren with nobility and grace, and Patrick Wilson plays the concerned but understanding Ed Warren. In the Perron family, Lili Taylor plays the mother, Carolyn, and Ron Livingston plays the father, Roger. The family also consists of five girls: Andrea, Nancy, Cindy, Christine, and little April.
As the Warrens become increasingly involved in the Perron family’s lives because of the hauntings, the toll is taken on Lorraine. Lorraine is really the glue that holds everything together, but her natural ability is more of a curse than a blessing. However, as in the movie (and in real life), she and Ed believed it was their calling to help people. She constantly puts herself in danger to help those in need, and the nobility of her character comes through.
Using old school special effects (from the creepy basement filled with old furniture, to the simplistic use of shadows and doors closing by themselves), The Conjuring will keep you watching from start to finish. It also will make you want to find out the real facts about what really happened and compare the two stories.
A behind-the-scenes look at the real people involved is included in the special features. This includes interviews with the real Lorraine and the real Carolyn as well as some of the Perron daughters. Archive footage is included, too, with interviews with the real Ed.
The Conjuring is the perfect horror film to watch on a stormy dark night. The cast is incredible, and the film has multiple layers to its scares. The film will keep you talking about it long after the end credits roll, and make you think twice the next time you hear two claps in another room.