Saturday 3 August 2013

Review: The Conjuring (Spoilers)

World of Blackout Film Review

The Conjuring Poster

The Conjuring (SPOILERS)
Cert: 15 / 112 mins / Dir. James Wan

So, from what I can gather after the very final altercation in Insidious, Patrick Wilson's character Josh got hit by a car, or something, and lost consciousness.
When he comes around, he's in 1971 and has a job as a paranormal investigator. Is he mad? In a coma? …or back in time? If he can use his paranormal knowledge to crack the case of a local family who've moved into the area and are experiencing ghostly visitations, then maybe he can figure out why he's here… and find a way home.

Not really. I wish my interpretation of events had been the case, because it would have been a damn sight more entertaining than the film I saw tonight. The problem is that it never lives up to its promise. It's a very slow start for not-enough-payoff, and while the cast do an admirable job of playing things straight, they're working with a dud, frankly. The film draws from the well of recent horror movies as deeply as it does from 'the old staples', but seems to add nothing of its own. Everything from slaughtered pets, stopping clocks and a boarded-up cellar, all the way through to a creepy doll, a creepy music box and whispering voices on a tape is ruthlessly mined for shocks which arrive with thudding, clockwork regularity.

Whether it's the child-murdering-possession of The Woman In Black, the multiple-ghosts-appearing of Insidious, or just the birds-crashing-into-the-house of Dark Skies, you've seen it all before, and you've seen it all better. The final act plays out like a mashup between The Evil Dead and Ghostbusters, and is every bit as funny as the image that evokes, sadly. The screen I saw the film in was five seats short of selling out. I thought this would make for a great atmosphere, as any tension and resulting release would be exaggerated throughout audience. We jumped once, and that was in the first half hour.

So, usually in this sort of thing an expository section between acts two and three fleshes out why the main victim is being harassed/haunted/possessed, and details the horrific events which have led up to the present case. In this story, we get Vera Farmiga sifting through some photos and pointing at a map. Any ghost aside from the main bad-girl, Bathsheba, is given half a line of dialogue to justify their presence, and then never seen again. As for bad-mamma herself, she's disposed of so easily (and with so little fallout or consequence) as to be laughable. But the film does end with a twist, in that when you're watching the family step out into the sunlight, hugging and relieved that it's all over; you're expecting the demon to resurge one last time before the credits… and it doesn't.

And while I'm on the subject, what the hell has Bathsheba got to do with Annabelle The Possessed Doll™? The film explicitly states that the possessions and murders only take place on the original plot of farmland, so unless The Warren Ghostbusters live on that land, it doesn't matter how many sentimental lockets Lorraine leaves in the basement, The Ghost™ shouldn't be able to just text The Demon™ and ask for a favour, surely? I imagine the Warren's Indiana Jones' Warehouse of haunted artefacts will be exploited in the sequel. Can't wait.

Despite all my pissing and moaning, it's not a "bad" horror movie, but it's so on-par with everything else that's being released these days that it's robbed of the very thing it needs to succeed: horror.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
If anything, it oversells it.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Not really. And neither did the sold-out audience I watched it with.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
DVD, at best.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Yes. Yes, I will..

Will I watch it again?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
So does "true story" mean "it's true that someone told this story"?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

1 comment:

  1. The Conjuring gives an adrenaline rush to your body with few scary scenes and spooky moments. Only I wish , it could have been more. Couple of scenes will give you a jilt - The scenes where evil starts unraveling on the family , the moment Warrens enters the house and realizes the evil spirit latching on the family and finally the last exorcism scene has been filmed brilliantly. Cinematoography is good. Art direction is enduring. Editing is tight. It is Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are the soul of the film especially Farmiga. She is fill of expression and gives in a great performance as Lorraine. Overall , a spooky thriller which has some scary scenes to entertain you along with strong direction , powerful screenplay and outstanding performances. A Must watch 3.5/5