Saturday, August 10, 2013

REVIEW: The Conjuring (2013)

REVIEW:  The Conjuring  ****

"The Exorcist" meets "The Amityville Horror" in this film, based on real-life paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by the excellent Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson). We go into this movie thinking we've seen it all already. A family moves into a new home and begin to experience supernatural occurrences.

So the matriarch of the family Carolyn Perron (an affecting Lili Taylor) pleads with the famous investigators for help to save her family. What follows are a series of horrific events that include ghostly behavior and demonic possession. All the while, the film keeps us grounded in reality. The 'ghost-hunters' frequently tell the people who ask for their help that "there's usually a rational explanation" for these kinds of events, like a leaking pipe might lead someone to believe there's supernatural activity.

This kind of realistic approach makes the second half of the film, where most of the action takes place, more terrifying. Director James Wan also wisely chooses to eschew needless or excessive gore to tell the story. Acting in this film is above par for this genre, and particularly Farmiga and Taylor should be considered for year-end awards. If you like ghost stories, but have grown used to most films in this genre being stale and unconvincing, I'd recommend checking out "The Conjuring."

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