BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JULY 20, 2013
You have to say something for a horror film that keeps you alert and edgy throughout the movie. “The Conjuring” is a throwback to classic horror films like “Poltergeist” and “The Exorcist,” with an eerie feeling from the moment you step foot into the characters’ lives. Based on a true story, director James Wan delivers an age-old tale of a family moving into a haunted house, with an attention to detail and an ability to scare that is all but uncommon in horror films today. Reminiscent of last year’s “The Woman In Black,” the biggest scares come from the loud noises and creaky nature of an old house and the ghosts that lurk behind every wardrobe door or blocked off the basement.
Being thrown into the dark or witnessing an unexplainable occurrence is the source of the scares, keeping its crescendos at bay, remaining tight-knit and creepy. Something as simple as one of the girls seeing a ghost behind a door that we cannot see is enough to send chills down your spine, which is the mark of a genuinely successful horror film. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga leading the movie as paranormal investigators, help keep the movie from feeling too much like “The Amityville Horror,” which focuses only on the family and their relation to the demonic nature of the house. Instead, we also get an outsider’s perspective and how they are affected by this haunting, making the story feel more extensive and more life-threatening. Precisely what a horror film should be, “The Conjuring” produces a genuinely eerie world where even in daylight you aren’t safe, allowing for some of the most effective jump-scares that I’ve ever experienced in a horror film.
July 19, 2013
Carey W. Hayes
Warner Bros. Pictures
(for sequences of disturbing violence and terror)
John R. Leonetti