By THOMAS HUGHES
“The Conjuring” was released in theaters this previous summer, scaring and delighting audiences. Directed by James Wan, (“Saw;” “Insidious”), the film follows the supposed true story of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga).
The University of Mary Washington Cheap Seats club featured the movie throughout the Halloween weekend.
The movie begins by introducing the Warrens and establishing their role as paranormal investigators. The story of a terrifying doll that is tormenting two girls is included for no real reason other than to take advantage of the creepy doll scare factor.
The film then moves on to the story of a family who has recently moved into a Rhode Island farm house with a dark history. The Warrens come to investigate and soon discover a demonic presence in the house and must figure out a way to expel it and protect the family it is tormenting.
The film not only features the classic jump-scares common with horror movies but is also successful at presenting a creepy and believable environment.
Instead of repeating tactics that have been used previously, the film takes advantage of catching the audience off guard and building up the tension in scenes without the classic finish of a scare. As a result, audiences are wound up and tense, just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The film also utilized setting perfectly. The ominous tree outside the house proves a perfect prop for both plot and creepiness.
In the fashion of recent horror movies, “The Conjuring” takes everyday circumstances and makes them terrifying. Audiences will leave the movie scared of the sound of clapping, and most will probably check all the armoires in their houses for a few weeks following the movie.
While the special effects came across as a little campy, the film used them minimally. It was effective at maintaining the suspense and fear up until the climax.
However, “The Conjuring” broke one of the basic rules of scary movies: do not expose the main scare factor too much, or else audiences become desensitized.
The climax ignores this rule, giving ample camera exposure to the demonic witch entity. This, coupled with an exorcism scene that is a clear rehash of many earlier films, serve as a disappointing end to an otherwise exemplary movie.
One of the main assets to the film is the acting, especially by the child actors.
A combination of seriousness and comedy make the plot both interesting and thrilling while providing occasional comedic relief.
Between the religious themes, terrifying basement and creepy doll that comes to life, “The Conjuring” is a solid terror film that provides something for fans of all horror genres.