The Conjuring (2013)
There is no gore in this film. There is no profanity too. There is no nudity either. And yet, The Conjuring succeeds in justifying its R rating with its remarkable use of creepy atmosphere and pure vintage horror. One of the best horror films to come out from Hollywood in recent times, The Conjuring does its job of thrilling its audience in an effective manner, but is also marred down by our own familiarity with horror elements. Having high expectations from this film resulted in a little disappointment for me but it was still pleasing to find out how well this film is actually crafted.
Based on a true story, The Conjuring follows real life paranormal investigators, Ed & Lorraine Warren, investigating the case file of Perron family. It begins with the Perron family moving into their new Rhode Island home only to later experience escalating events of nightmarish terror. The Warrens are called in to examine the house who after their research find out that the house is steeped in a satanic haunting that has now latched itself to the entire Perron family. What follows next is Warrens’ trying to save the family as well as themselves from an imminent death & also to destroy the source of all evils that has cursed the house for decades.
Directed by James Wan, whose previous works include Saw & Insidious, this is a much more mature effort from him. While Saw was a really good film that is incorrectly criticised for giving birth to torture porn genre, and Insidious had a bone-chilling first half that was later completely destroyed by its pathetic second half, The Conjuring can be seen as an example from a filmmaker who is learning from his mistakes. Applying the eerie & moody atmosphere of this film with smart placements of jump scares, James Wan plays along the rules by placing the emphasis on the story & experience first rather than only finding ways to scare the audience. Overall, it’s a really good job from James Wan & it’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.
The Conjuring begins with the Annabelle doll case of the Warrens & then smoothly transitions into the Perron one. Nothing major happens in the first half but it was a very crucial part where an effective groundwork was laid for what awaited in the next part of the story. And since James Wan didn’t repeat the mistake he mades in Insidious, the second half of The Conjuring unleashes a vast amount of terror on its unsuspecting viewers. It moves at an unstoppable pace in that half, jolting one shock after another, and finally culminates with an intense climax. Also not to be forgotten is its great use of camera in successfully creating the sinister look this film required, tight editing & fine performances. A relatively good effort from the entire production team.
On an overall scale, The Conjuring, like every other horror film, has its share of flaws… most notable being its familiarity with many horror elements that makes it somewhat predictable. But still, the positive points this time clearly outshine the negative ones and for its brilliant use of photography & visual design, accuracy to its timeline, great use of silence, sound & music, and finally, a welcome absence of gore & digital effects, The Conjuring works as an entertaining, stylishly filmed homage to 1970s chillers and is the horror film to beat this year.