Many people feel like Horror films in the 21st century have grown stale and miss “the good old” days where horror was good, however I’ve got to disagree with thos people, and this is an example of how good the genre can be/ It’s easy to get overhyped about certain horror films and can come out less than satisfied because you really expect to get scared and then if you don’t, and it feels like a disappointment. This film has no such problems. What I just saw is horror art. This is easily one of the best horror films in recent memory that is creepy and terrifying, you really should go see, one of the best of the year.
The film starts like many other horror films. A family moves into a new house in the country. They are hoping for a place full of possibilities. Then they start to notice strange things around the house. They hire paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren to help them discover what is behind it.
The story doesn’t sound like much nor does it sound like anything new. In many respects the film’s narrative isn’t anything new. There are many familiar elements that any filmgoer would recognize as standard elements in any haunted house horror flick. That is probably the film’s biggest drawback, is the familiar narrative. However this in lies a clear example of taking something familiar and adding a new spin on it. Not even in terms of a new spin that they deconstruct everything you know about the genre, like how “Cabin in the Woods” (2011) did, but in terms of taking something familiar and make it feel different enough to where it doesn’t feel like the same movie we’ve seen 100 times before but instead a different experience. This is an example not even exclusive to this genre. Like if any of you read my “Identity Thief” (2013) review, you will know that I felt it was a film that took something familiar, something we’ve seen 100 times before but did nothing new. It was a pale, bland, and lazy film. “The Conjuring” is a perfect example of just the opposite.
The actually pacing of the film’s narrative consists of a slow buildup, which allows us to get to know the characters and care about them. In a film such as this, you want to be able to care about the people involved what is occurring to them. All of them in the film, are all likeable and even the kids are characters you can root for. A lot of times in these horror movies, the kids can get a little annoying. The casting is flawless with them, all of them performing believable and also realistic, likeable kids.
Inclusive in the slow buildup is the tension that takes on a life of its own. Director James Wan creates a really creepy, suspenseful atmosphere. His camera work, including the look of the film and the music creates a crazy amount of tension. It all starts off from the opening scene and doesn’t let up at all throughout the film. With the slow buildup it gives that tension has time to grow and spurt.
That brings us to the actually horror of the film itself. How scary is this film? Is it everything that the critics have been saying about it? I am here to tell you that they are correct and I’m not even sure scary covers it. This film is really terrifying, in fact probably one of the scariest of the century. I know many of you will accuse me of being a “bandwagoner” and am just saying this because the critics are saying it. I would never say anything I didn’t mean to get attention I’m 100% truthful on my thoughts, this will scared the living crap out. The film doesn’t rely on jump scares, and gore to make the film “scary”, it has an atmosphere. A feeling of dread and horror that is unique.
Not many films actually scare me and not many that stay with me. I didn’t write a review for this so soon, because I wanted to see if the film would stay with me. That’s the test of a true horror film, one that will stay with you after the credits roll and you’re back in your house at night. This film does that, audiences will be thinking about this film long after the credits are done. If anyone needs any more of a reason to feel afraid, read up on the “true story”.
The acting is very good in this film as well. Vera Farmiga gives an excellent and confident performance as Lorraine Warren. Patrick Wilson is great as he always is, as Lorraine’s husband Ed. Lili Taylor is absolutely chilling and Ron Livingston is incredibly believable as her husband. It is always nice to find great realistic acting in a horror film. Many become nothing more than horrible, cheesy acting from actors that nearly always become a mockery of themselves. That is not the case here with this horror film.
You always read about those horror films that come around and it becomes an event, one that nearly everyone goes and sees because of just how scary the film is. “The Exorcist” (1973) was one of those films and it looks like “The Conjuring” (2013) is another one of those films. Am I saying it is as good as “The Exorcist”? No, but it’s that type of movie. This is easily one of the best horror films of the decade if. A terrific gem of a horror film that only weakness is that the elements are a little familiar to us.