Movie Review: The Conjuring (2013)

Timothy McLarney

Directed by James Wan, The Conjuring features Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as renowned real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. This classic horror film is a unique dive into the supernatural genre. Instead of the typical cast of clueless young teens, or  newlyweds falling victim to the antics of angry spirits, this movie offers a satisfying balance between the suspense of danger, and the logical process by which two veteran ghost-hunters (one being a clairvoyant) reveal and cast out an angry vessel, offering some semblance of control to the viewers.

When Roger and Carolyn Perron move into a Rhode Island farmhouse with their five daughters in 1971, they quickly begin experiencing unusual occurrences ranging from habitually waking up at 3:07 AM to finding their dog, Sadie, suddenly deceased. Turning to demonology, the couple reaches out to Ed and Lorraine, who promptly take up the case and begin investigating the house, uncovering the dark history behind it. From UV forensics to crucifixions, this horror story “based on true events” finds ways to immerse the audience into the world of ghost-hunting while helping us realize just how little we know about the roaming noncorporeal.

My favorite aspect of the film was simply how reasoned the characters were, crying out only at seemingly appropriate moments and never making choices that would be unbelievable to the audience. Its scares are equally realistic, and do not rely on jumpy movements or cheap pop-outs to jolt the viewer, instead keeping scenes tense while those watching are ready for a scare at any moment.

In terms of character development, The Conjuring does an adequate job of setting up background information, each character’s morals and motivations, and how those morals play into their behavior throughout the story. An especially interesting part of the film has to be the Warrens’ artifact room, filled with the haunted items of their past ghost-hunts that doubles as a respectable trophy exhibition.

The only flaw I found in the film was the one-dimensional aspects of each protagonist; all either struck by fear and/or with the moral propensity for goodness, as the only times the characters fight each other is when one is possessed. Overall, I would highly recommend this film to any fan of the unliving and of cinematography that can remain frightening, though hopeful.