I don’t always see that many scary movies. I’ll think they look interesting and worth seeing but then they slip right by and go to my “to-watch” list (i.e. Paranormal Activity 4, The Purge). But with the new Jason Wan directed “The Conjuring,” I was going to make a point to see it (Summertime is a great time for a good scary flick)! Wan directed “Saw,” which is to this day the scariest movie I’ve ever seen and up there as the scariest movie ever made, so it’s fair to have some big hopes for getting the bejeezus scared out of you while watching “The Conjuring”.
“Conjuring” is based on the true life story of the sweet Perron family, who moved into an 18th Century farmhouse in Rhode Island in 1971. Cutie pies Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston (who I’ll always think of as Sex and the City‘s Berger but you may think of him as Peter from Office Space) are the loving parents to 5 pretty girls. This nice family moves into an old country home that comes equipped with lots of hidden closets, a freaky basement, and things that go bump in the night. One of the daughters becomes plagued with “sleepwalking,” doors are constantly opening and shutting, and the youngest daughter has a new “imaginary friend” that she talks to. After one of the middle daughters has a terrifying episode in the middle of the night (terrifying to her, just average scary to the viewer), the parents decide enough is enough. They enroll the help of Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Fermiga, who are both terrific and gorgeous. The Warren’s are paranormal investigators who conduct experiments to try and assist people with disturbances in their home. The Warren’s are actually a real life couple who have been called many different things: “psychic researchers,” “demonologists,” and “ghost hunters,” to name a few. Ed Warren passed away in 2006 but Lorraine lives on and assisted in the making of this movie. Sometimes the Warren’s find out that what is “haunting” a house is a simple house-hold problem, like squeaky pipes. But in the case of the Perrons, it is/was very much indeed a supernatural (demonic) and aggressive presence. “Conjuring” depicts the family’s haunting, the investigation by the Warren’s, and the much-needed exorcism that follows, and the result is a movie that is fast-paced and riveting.
This was a spooky haunted house movie that I strongly recommend. You will not be bored for a moment, it’s the perfect length (112 minutes), and exciting throughout. It just was not as scary as I thought it would be. Maybe I’ve grown up a bit and am not scared as easily as I used to be but I definitely think the movie should have been PG-13. There were lots of jumpy moments but they all fell far short in the horror department compared to, say “The Ring,” what I consider to be the scariest ghost movie I’ve seen. Mrs. Perron, who in real life and in the movie was the one most targeted by the supernatural entity, begins to develop deep, dark mysterious bruises in the night, and you should see what happens to her after a certain point when she tries to leave the house. That was definitely up there as far as the movie’s “scariest” elements.
The movie’s opening sequence is excellent, depicting an interview the Warren’s have with two friends who are worried about their doll, “Annabelle.” You do not want to mess with Annabelle and you do not want to be late for the movie and miss this part. Annabelle is also based on a true story. Below is the movie version of Annabelle and the Raggedy Ann doll is the real life one. The Warren’s have a room in their house in Monroe, CT that holds all the haunted objects they come across in their work, to protect the owners and keep them safe. They call this room “The Warren Occult Museum.” The movie displays this room as well and there is no creepier room in any house anywhere.
I’d give “The Conjuring” a 7 on a scary scale, 10 being the scariest. The movie definitely did not disappoint, but I went into it hoping for at least an 8 or 9. But experiencing the family’s haunting and getting to be a fly on the wall during the Warren’s investigation make this movie thrilling, captivating, and overall a fun time. You will definitely enjoy “The Conjuring” with its spooky moments and excellent cast, just chances are you will agree that an “R” rating was not necessary.
The Conjuring: A-
To read more about the actual Perron family’s case and the Warren’s, read this great article from the Providence Journal.
Visit the Warren Occult Musuem and New England Society for Psychic Research here. Just make sure you have the volume on your computer off because the music that plays is spooky as hell.