Director: James Wan
Hey, remember those CDs or in my case cassette tapes that you got every Christmas? They had all the greatest pop hits of the year. If you’re in the UK you’ll remember the ‘NOW that’s what i call music’ compilations. I had the one with Gangsta’s Paradise on it, I think it was NOW 32 but I’m probably wrong.
Why am I spouting this reminiscent shit? Well The Conjuring is the NOW 32 of horror films. It has every cliché imaginable including scary dolls, children dragged out of bed, frightened barking dog, creepy boarded up cellar, freaky music box, and so much more. At first you’ll enjoy filling out your bingo card of scary film tropes but by the end you’ll have been thoroughly horrified.
The Conjuring has a title that has no relevance at all to the movie. I presume it was spat out by a horror film title generator. It’s actually a classic haunted house movie. Family moves into creepy house in the 70s (why are films set in the 70s so frightening?), weird shit starts happening, the family can’t just move out for convoluted reason. You know the story. In come husband and wife demon hunters Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren to sort it all out.
You might be thinking, ‘Michael hated this film, he scoffs at it’s unoriginality (that’s a made-up word by the way grammar fans) while stroking his chin and chuckling ironically’. You’d be wrong though. The Conjuring is a thrill ride that throws the entire history of horror right at your big stupid face. Even the spooky looking title logo gave me the chills. It starts off with loads of creepy red herrings and then half way through something absolutely terrifies the children (and me, I curled into a foetal position, covered my eyes, and spilt my beer). Hint: look at the top of the wardrobe.
After this all hell breaks loose with elements of all your favourite horror films in one greatest hits package. There’s a bit of Poltergeist, a splash of The Amityville Horror, and a huge dollop of The Exorcist. It could be a scary film spoof if it wasn’t so frightening. Once it gets going it doesn’t let up until the end credits. Memorable scenes include a figure standing behind a door, a literally hair raising moment for one of the children, and some dancing on the ceiling like a demonically possessed Lionel Ritchie (is there any other kind?).
Aided by a fantastic cast included Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor and an excellent Ron Livingston as the caring, blue collar, father – The Conjuring is the perfect Friday night fright for horror fans. It would be a predictable film if it didn’t mix together everything the haunted house genre has making it in a strange way a total surprise for those expecting another Insidious or Paranormal Activity.
Imagine your favourite band playing all your their greatest hits while a demon empties your bowels and you’ll get some insight into The Conjuring.
The UK première of The Conjuring is on 27th June as part of the Edinburgh Film Festival. It is released UK wide on 3rd August.