This review also contains spoilers.
The Conjuring follows paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine and Ed Warren to Rhode Island in 1971 to a farmhouse home occupied by Carolyn and Roger Perron and their five daughters. Harrowing paranormal activity escalates which causes the Warrens to get heavily involved to ensure the safety of the family.
First of all, let it be said that I am in no way a fan of anything horror or remotely thriller related. With that being said I am wholeheartedly a fan of this film.
The film first opens up with a completely different storyline, that of Annabelle, a porcelain doll which has been inhabited by an evil spirit. This opens the story to investigators Lorraine (Vera Famiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren. The Warrens were profoundly known throughout the 1970s for investigating those who are believed to linger from the afterlife and manifest to cause torment. The Warrens are immediately portrayed as the heroes of the movie, you know that Lorraine and Ed will be the only chance of salvation if there’s to be any kind of happy ending in this film.
The Perron family experience multiple, albeit mild, paranormal events to begin with. Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) begins to experience bruising all over her body and of course, as is always the way in these films, the family dog ends up dead. What is frustrating as a viewer is that you know watching it that Carolyn isn’t just iron deficient and the dog didn’t just happen to die, but that’s what the characters play these “mishaps” off as. If only they could hear you tell them they’re idiots. Of course things escalate marvellously, which is when the Perron family ask the Warrens for help at a lecture on paranormal investigations which Lorraine and Ed are teaching. Of course from here on out is where the real fun begins. This is where in my opinion the film must be applauded; although a horror, this film doesn’t rely on gore, shock or cheap tricks to scare you like most might. The director, James Wan (also known for directing Saw, Insidious and Dead Silence) still manages to make your heart beat that little bit louder.
Another factor of this films greatness is that it’s based on “true events”. The main spirit, Bathsheba, which is haunting the grounds, was once a devil worshipper in the mid 1800’s who practised dark magic. She sacrificed her week-old newborn baby to the devil by piercing the skull with a needle. Although she couldn’t be charged due to lack of evidence, the public believed she committed the act for eternal beauty, as she was envied for her looks amongst many. Once found she climbed up a tree, proclaimed her love for Satan, and cursed anybody who would reside on her property and hung herself. Maybe now we can see why James Wan didn’t need to rely on added shock factor, whether you believe in life after death or not, this is still disturbing.
The ending of the film is by far the most chaotic. Carolyn Perron is possessed by Bathsheba and is actively trying to kill her daughter as another sacrifice. Lorraine and Ed are forced to try and exorcise her themselves, although all that it is successful in is reminding Carolyn of a particular happy family day out and how much she loves all her daughters and husband. All in all if anything was going to let this movie down it is this last hurdle, but it’s nothing I could condemn the whole movie for.
Overall, even if you hate all things horror as I do, this is certainly still worthy of a watch – or maybe even two.
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