The Conjuring (2013)
Reviewed on 2013 August 25
I went to see this against my better judgment, thinking it would be a great ride but it would cost me a night or three of sleep. I like horror movies but a few push my buttons a little too much. The Exorcist frightened me. The Ring got under my skin, Insidious made me a little jumpy for about 48 hours after I saw it, and there’s a bit in Exorcist III that I think doctors could use as a cardiac test. This was also supposedly based on a true story. I was curious about this, and one of my best friends wanted to see it, so we went for it.
This was not scary. There were some good bits and it was fun junk food with very likable leads, but it wasn’t what we were expecting.
After a creepy beginning that made me think this movie would live up to its hype (and I’d need strong coffee the next morning to move after a sleepless night), we’re introduced to the world’s nicest pair of paranormal researchers. Ed Warren (Patrick WIlson) and his wife Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) have seen some horrifying things in their years of “cleaning” houses of entities. Lorraine was so traumatized by one exorcist that Ed wants her to stay out of the nitty gritty part of things and focus more on lecturing people about what they do.
Lorraine can’t turn her back on the Perron family, a crew of seven who moved into a Rhode Island house with a macabre history. Never mind that the thing looks like an HGTV final exam; it’s loaded with doom. Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) sees it as a new start for her husband Roger (Ron Livingston) and their five daughters. The family put all their money into this move, and when she tearfully approaches Lorraine one day after several terrifying events, begging for help, Lorraine agrees to help her.
This was decent, with the actors doing a great job with a script that veered into cornball in many places. A lot of what drove this was the bond I felt not only for the brave Warrens, but also for the Perron family. This could have been any family in the audience, sinking their nest egg into a new home only to find out the thing comes pre-occupied with a house guest literally from hell. There were a couple of good scares, too: the Hide and Clap game gone wrong and the backstory were very creepy. The biggest problem was James Wan, who also directed Insidious and gave me nightmares with that, piled on too much here as things got rolling. The finale made me laugh — silently, so I wouldn’t ruin it for people around me. I felt guilty I might be ruining it for my friend right next to me, until I saw she was trying to hold her laughter in as well.
Two chocolate morsels. Reminded me in many ways of a ’70s haunted house yarn, but could have been so much better.