THE CONJURING (15)
D: James Wan
Warner Bros/New Line/Evergreen (Peter Safran, Tony DeRosa-Grund & Rob Cowan)
USA 🇺🇸 2013
W: Chad Hayes & Carey B. Hayes
DP: John R. Leonetti
Ed: Kirk Morri
Mus: Joseph Bishara
Vera Farmiga (Lorraine Warren), Patrick Wilson (Ed Warren), Lili Taylor (Carolyn Perron), Ron Livingston (Roger Perron)
Audiences seemed to love this movie, but nowhere near as much as studio executives, who saw fit to franchise the fuck out of it, creating sequels and spinoffs based on props and backstories (The Conjuring 2, Annabelle, The Nun, etc.). Produced for a meagre $20m, the film more than broke even on its opening weekend, so from a business side of things, its a tidy film.
Studio finances aside, the plot doesn't mask the fact that it's taken elements from The Amityville Horror, The Exorcist and Poltergeist for yet another knock off from the Hollywood production line.
Set in 1971 and based on a "true story", the Perron family (mum, dad, five daughters) move into a country farmhouse where spooky goings-on wake them at night and the presence gets increasingly malevolent. The family recruit the help of the Warrens, who make a living investigating the paranormal despite Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) being dressed like an elixir salesman from the 1800's.
The rest of the film is made up of the usual horror cliches and tropes which have plagued the genre for the past few decades and any mystery is knocked out of the park by the production of all the needless spinoff movies.
From a technical point of view, the film is adequately done, with good cinematography and visual effects, but I found the editing didn't quite flow and the production design didn't capture the period at all.
Patrick Wilson aside, the rest of the performances are convincing enough, but the film still left me lamenting the golden age of horror- when these kinds of movies were actually scary.