Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston.
James Wan ( Insidious)
AHAUNTED house. A petrified family. A possessed doll. Self- slamming doors. Random clapping in the dead of night. As viewers come to grips with new horror film The Conjuring, it looks as if just another batch of cookie- cutter creepiness is about to be served.
By all means, feel free to initially underrate this finely crafted and genuinely scary production. Making such a mistake will only serve to leave you more impressed – and rattled – than you might otherwise have been.
It is important to note the prospects of The Conjuring are helped along by the possibility it could well be based on a true story.
Sure, we’ve all been burnt by the thisactually- happened thing before. Nevertheless, the events depicted here are indeed lifted from the case files of famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Remember The Amityville Horror? That was the Warrens, a husband- and- wife team who completed each eerie job with a literal religious fervour at the absolute peak of their powers.
Anyway, the year is 1971. Long- haul truck driver Roger Perron ( Ron Livingston) has moved wife Carolyn ( Lili Taylor) and their five daughters into what the family believes will be their dream home.
Of course, the abode is actually a nightmare home – a former farm dwelling with centuries of ghastly history left curiously unmentioned by local real estate agents.
Enter the Warrens. Lorraine ( a magnificent
BEFORE MIDNIGHT ( MA15+) anchoring performance by Vera Farmiga) is close to being burnt out in the aftermath of a recent case, while Ed ( Patrick Wilson) is in two minds about staying in the ghost- busting business. But a simple walk- through of the Perrons’ property is enough to convince Lorraine and Ed they must take the job.
A support team is assembled. It is going to take an exorcism to rid the house of its unwanted residents. Before such a ritual can happen, permission from the Vatican must be sought and granted – and that takes a lot of indisputable evidence of demonic activity.
To its credit, The Conjuring never overplays any of the limited range of cards that must be judiciously placed on the table at key junctures.
The direction of Australian filmmaker James Wan is a revelation in this regard.
While he allows you to occasionally laugh at the gruesome goings- on, you will never experience the urge to look down upon them.
You will be too involved, too intrigued and too softened- up to ask too many hard questions.
THIS IS THE END ( MA15+)