The Conjuring

246460id1c_Conjuring_INTL_27x40_1Sheet.inddAs of this writing ‘The Conjuring’ is breaking box office records – the biggest domestic opening ever for an original R-rated horror movie, the first horror movie to surpass $100 million domestic.

This is wonderful news for horror fans, more studios will fund horrors now, more distributers will take a chance on indie horror, more cinemas will screen them instead of delegating them to the straight-to-dvd route. 

It’s about time studios realise what a cash cow horrors are – most horror fans will see any horror movie, they don’t care if it’s big budget, if it has stars, if it is well received by critics; they’ll fork out their hard earned money to pursue that ever elusive thrilling scare that any small gem of a horror film may afford them.

Cause to celebrate in my opinion. 

‘The Conjuring’ is based on a ‘true’ story from the 1970’s about the family Perrone and their five daughters (too obscure to not be true!) and how the DIY dream house they move into has it’s own ghostly inhabitants that take none to kindly to the Perrone’s moving in. Finally after tolerating more than the average person would, they find and engage the services of the Warrens – Paranormal Investigators, to battle and finally rid themselves of any and all demonic forces as swiftly as possible.

How much is truth and how much is fiction is a debate for another time and not entirely relevant to how I feel about the movie (though it seems to give an added chill to some audience members to ‘know’ its based on a true story). 

As portrayed by Vera Farmigia and Patrick Wilson, the Warrens come off as well rounded despite their immersion in the occult, they are affectionate and supportive with each other, warm and concerned with the Perrones, and it certainly helps to have actors of such calibre play these real-life investigators.

The Perrone’s (expertly played by Lili Taylor and Ron Livingstone) are equally compelling with a loving marriage and true sense of family with the girls (when they play the hand clap game it feels like a ‘family favourite’ they’ve been playing together since the girls were young).

The direction is more cinematic than we’ve come to expect from a horror though I must admit that negatives creep in for me at this point with most of the jumps feeling familiar and almost formulaic, telegraphed from a mile away.

Nicely scripted with a good building pace and an ease of dialogue that makes you feel these people are real, there is something quite tangible to lose here.

The problem for me was that it just wasn’t scary. The posters gave me a thrill, the trailer made me jumpy, and so there was, I admit, a great deal of anticipation on my part, but the film itself did not scare me once. Worse, I went home to my old creaky house where I live alone, and didn’t think of the film at all.

I cannot fault the ingredients of this film, it was executed marvellously, all the elements were there even down to the set decoration, all the period pieces intact and that 70’s groove a strong thread throughout. Well acted, directed and scripted.

A non-scary but well-made, superbly acted, box office busting horror film – how do you rate that??

7/10… I guess..

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