Alright guys, we’re moving right along through my collection to one of my favorite horror movies. No, not of the last few years, not contemporary horror, this one ranks as one of my favorites. Ever.
Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.
Now, I did do a bit of reading and light research on the Warrens and their lives. I’ve opted to leave my personal feelings about them out of this review, and simply review the movie. So, not that anyone ever does, but if you are super interested in telling me how the movie stacks up to the factual events, I don’t care.
Before we get into what I liked about the movie itself, I have to mention something that made me love the movie before I’d even seen it. The advertising campaign. This movie had one of the most effective trailers I have ever seen. Whether or not the family or the story are ‘real’, the trailer was enough to get my excited.
Now, THAT is how you market a fucking horror movie.
Alright, I just had to call attention to that, and now we can get on to the movie itself.
First and foremost, I absolutely love ghost stories, and haunted house movies. I don’t necessarily believe in ghosts, but for somreason movies like this just inspire real fear in me. When they’re done right. There are plenty of stupid haunted house movies that get everything wrong, this is NOT one of them.
The opening introduction to the Warrens, via the Annabel doll is absolutely bone chilling, and sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the movie. Additionally, I have to say, when that yellow text came up that said The Conjuring in that old-school, horror movie font, I was immediately on board for the ride that was coming.
Lets talk story first I suppose? Apparently this movie’s plot was taken from the actual case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, and having not pored over their files for the purposes of this review, I can’t tell you how accurate it is. What I can tell you is that it is a straight up, old-school ghost story, and a god damn effective one.
Of course, this movie, like all modern horror movies, has plenty of nay-sayers. From people who think ghost movies are stupid, to people who think that James Wan makes stupid movies. The fact is, James Wan has given us 4 of the most fantastic horror movies of the last 15 years, and spawning one of the biggest contemporary horror franchises. Saw, Insidious, Insidious Chapter 2, and of course, The Conjuring.
This movie is solid in its story, it sets the tone, and embraces what makes a for a good ghost story.
The actors also turn in bang-on performances. I may be the biggest fan of Lili Taylor, and she happens to be in one of my least favorite haunted house movies, “The Haunting (1999)”, however she turns in a pretty solid, if not somewhat uninspired performance in this movie. Thankfully, everyone else in the movie turns in great performances, and really build each other up, making the movie that much more believable.
The scares in this movie are great, the tension build up is nerve wracking, and if you’re someone like me who responds well to haunted house movies, you’ll be hiding your face with your hands before long.
The movie also just looks great. The effects are mostly practical, and as a result it just has one further level of realism and intensity added to it. The movies that age the best are typically the ones that use practical effects , like one of my other favorite horror movies, The Exorcist.
Overall, if you love ghost stories, and well made horror movies … this really is the one for you. It scared the bejesus out of me, and if you go into it with the right attitude, then it will do the same for you.
Add this one to my list of classics.
Final Grade: A