Monday, July 29, 2013

DBH Splurge of the Week:The Conjuring(2013)

By Eric Polk-
Ahh, the old venerable haunted house tale. Like most horror movies, there is only so much you can with it. Inevitably, you fall into the pitfalls of repetitiveness and cliches so the best way to overcome the roadblock is to make your movie interesting via suspense, scares, music, etc. With The Conjuring, this movie succeeds by being a fisherman....No, not the one from those crappy I Know What You Did things.

Based on a true story(allegedly), the film begins with a presentation by Ed and Lorraine Warren whom if I didn't know better, I swear were a pair of freelance bio-exorcists(Sorry, I'm in a riffing mood today, Reaplings). Anyway, after we see what the dynamic duo can do along with their extensive possessed item collection, we are taken to the magical year of 1971 and the Perron family moving into an old farmhouse in Rhode Island.  Interestingly enough, the patriarch once had a job coding software and bitching about how work sucked while contending with a squirrelly-looking guy and zombie-sounding boss.

Things get off to an auspicious start when both a boarded entrance is found in the basement and the family pet, Sadie, joins the choir invisible. Over the next few days, the haunting begins in earnest. Doors slamming shut, pictures falling off the wall, ghostly hands reaching out from closets, etc. Finally, when an old woman attacks one of the little girls, they call Exorcists-R-Us and the Warrens arrive to try and save the day.

Later, we discover the secret of the house(Hint:This movie takes place in New England, if you're smart you can guess what supernatural force is involved) while Mama Perron is infected by a really pissed off demon.

Riffing and jokes aside, The Conjuring is a great slow-builder reminiscent of movies such as The Changling and original The Haunting and The House on Haunted Hill. Unlike those movies, there is surprisingly a measurable amount of gore that will keep those hounds somewhat pleased.  The centerpiece of the movie is the big climax when the exorcism is taking place. In some ways, it was almost as good as the exorcism from The Exorcist. Had it not been for how the former possession ended, I may have placed it tied with The Power of Christ scenes.

The only real weak spot for me is the ending. A huge bang which dies into a whimper. I really wanted to leave the movie on a scare but again this is the movie's only real flaw. Other than that, the suspense was intense, it was well-acted. I even loved the scrolling text in the beginning. Very 70's. I won't go so far as to say this is the best horror film of the year so far because I have so many others to watch but this may just be top ten!

P.S. Annabelle is so scary, Chucky runs away from her!

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