They say it’s “taken from true life events”, “the scariest film in recent times”, “cliched but chilling”. But the question is, does The Conjuring live up to the hype? Here’s presenting the next instalment in my Quest For the Scariest Films.
James Wan of the Saw franchise and Insidious, brings us this period supernatural film. Firstly, the cast is huge, both on the spirit and the human front. Coming straight to the plot: Based in the 70’s, the Perron family moves into their new house in the countryside. Mom, dad and 4 daughters, all excited about their new beginning. Speed bump. The house is haunted. Enter: Paranormal hunter husband-wife duo, the Warrens to the rescue. Now let’s dig in deeper.
What’s made clear from the first few visuals and the Time Of The Seasons by The Zombies playing in the background, is that Wan has planted a ‘nothing can go wrong’ vibe to start clean. But you can bet your sanity that it will all collapse with the bone chilling events that are to unfold. With the setting and costumes, he has made the early 70’s work in his favour. The film is filled with all the classic scare tactics from your favourite ghost movies in the past and yet, seems to have managed to maintain its own lingering presence.
The story takes an ancient folk tale and twists it into the reality of the lives of the loving Perons and Warrens. Like other good scare film, this one too takes tips from The Exorcist and Poltergeist. But for audiences who desperately look for fear and have a profound love for the classics, does The Conjuring hold its own rank?
If you are a pro-supernatural film buff then you’d have to maintain your patience for the worthwhile scares (yes, there are a few good ones). The fact that the film is set before fancy technology, helps maintain the chill. And for a change, it’s a movie that does not go too deep into religion but just points out the obvious parts. If you like witches, creepy children, dead maids, pagan rituals, ghostly toys, activity involving poltergeists and all the cliched horror tricks, this movie is peppered with them.
The frightening bits in the film, once they pick up momentum, last for a good many heartbeats. And as compared to other exorcism sequences through the years, this film does well for itself. But if you still have The Exorcism Of Emily Rose on your mind, this one might sting you less…
As mentioned earlier, this film has quite a few characters. From 7 in the Perron family to the 2 ghost hunting Warrens and their own family members. Then there are two more characters in the Warren’s team and yes, there is a priest. There is always a priest! Now on the paranormal side, you have one demon/witch and a cameo made by the ghosts of every victim she’s haunted. As a result of the head-count a few filler haunts seem a bit all over the place. The hauntings at one point come in quickly – one after another. And it is here that you may start to feel immune to the spooks.
The trick to enjoying a scary film is to not predict the next scene. Don’t anticipate or use too much logic, let the film tell its story in its own time. The best scares are when the brain can’t process what’s happening, leaving you as trapped in the lives of the character as they are.
With respect to this film, you will surely find yourself empathizing with the lead characters. The movie hasn’t overplayed the perils on the children and manages to stick to a constant rhythm. For those of you who hate gore and wonder if the director dug into his Saw script, you’re in luck, there isn’t much.
All in all, The Conjuring is a great film to watch, as for us, the quest continues.