As a fan of the horror genre I take a lot of slack from other critics. “Horror is low-brow,” “you can’t take horror films seriously,” and other condescending comments that make me squirm. I have fought, and will continue to fight, for the genre being just as respectable and legitimate as any other genre.
However, a lot of recent horror films have unfortunately been proving these criticisms correct. For the most part, I have been extremely disappointed in recently released horror films (The Evil Dead remake being one that really let me down). Until now. The Conjuring is exactly what I have been waiting for. It has everything that I look for when going into a horror film – relatable characters, strong writing, a balance between the male and female lead and a suspenseful atmosphere that lasts the entire film.
The Conjuring is an adaption of what is supposed to be a true case of the Perron family and a malevolent entity that wishes to do them harm for moving onto its land. The Warrens, Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson), are called to assess the situation as well as aid the family in an attempt to save the mother’s (Lili Taylor) soul from the entity that is preying on her. Now, as a Rhode Islander I was already hooked when I found out the film is based on a real-life haunting in my home state, but as I sat through the film it kept me hooked for other, more legitimate reasons.
The film is able to give both of the Warrens pretty decent screen time without necessarily making one of them seem more important or stronger than the other. (I could argue that Lorraine quite possibly might be the stronger of the two lead characters, having gone through a lot more emotional and mental stress than her husband, but I digress). I was just pleased that the film didn’t do what it could have easily done – made Lorraine into an unstable, emotional mess because of her clairvoyant abilities and use her as a plot device to make Ed seem more heroic.
The only complaint I have about the film is the “entity.” When we finally see it take human form the film gets a little cheesy. I’m a big advocate for “less is more,” and when you get in too close and show too much, it takes away the fear and can even make it a little comical at times. I think The Conjuring should have taken a page from what the first Paranormal Activity did and kept the entity more of a unseen thing rather than giving it form. However, aside from that I think the film nailed it.
I highly recommend this film to any horror fan. If you haven’t already seen it, see it. [subscribe2]