Director: James Wan
Writer: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston
Plot: A young couple moves into a house that is chock full of evil spirits. They seek the help of trained ghost hunters to help them de-demon the house.
***So one of our new guest writers saw this one as well and we thought it would be a nice change of pace to add her review here as well. We thought it would be fun to get a female perspective as well as the perspective from a little bit younger generation. Thanks for being a part of our insanity Tori!****
Rate It: (0 -3 guys)
So what did you think?
Adam – A well acted film that has a lot of creepy atmospheric moments. I can see this being a big crowd pleaser for fans of horror, considering the dearth of quality horror films at the cinema. I must be honest though I did not find this film what I would call scary. While the film has some creepy parts and jump scares, this film is far from terrifying.
Scotty - The Conjuring started off great, the plot was slowly building to what I had hoped to be a huge payoff and I actually thought that someone was going to make a great horror movie but sadly it ended like all the others, with disappointment.
Griff – This was one of the better comedies I have seen this year. I am not sure what part was the most hysterical, Having the girl who sings “Joe Lies” in Say Anything get possessed by a demon, having a cameo from doll from bride or Chucky, Ron Livingston’s ridiculous wig, or ghosts that resort to hair pulling. They certainly managed to get some laughs from the audience though.
Tori – It had your classic scary moments, such as when they revealed what the demon looks like. There were definitely some conventional horror movie aspects about the film; in fact, it was very reminiscent of the classic exorcism horror films. It did not, however, make me completely jump out of my seat in terror.
Any thoughts before you saw the movie?
Adam – I was pretty sure I was going to wish that I had brought a blanket so that I would have something to hide under during the scary parts. I am a well known wimp when it comes to horror films. Not that I have not seen all the classics, but that I usually pace around, avert my eyes and later have nightmares.
Scotty – I was none too pleased to see yet another haunted house horror film, I think I have seen 42 of them.
Griff – This looked pretty god awful. More of the same old same old. When did horror films become so damn lame?
Tori – Before seeing this movie, I checked Rotten Tomatoes and saw that it had a 90% rating. I was therefore expecting to be absolutely terrified throughout the entire movie.
Did you think this movie was fresh and/or innovative?
Adam - Ummm not really It is a haunted house/exorcism story. Sort of like The Haunting/Amityville Horror meets The Exorcist. Still a fun watch but certainly not breaking much new ground in the genre. I did appreciate how they nailed the look of living in 1970’s New England in an older house.
Scotty - No, everyone has seen haunted house horror stories before and that is just what this is. Young family moves into a house that has a twisted history and that history begins to show itself. Amityville Horror anyone.
Griff – It was fresh back in 1979 when they made this film already and called it The Amityville Horror. Actually it wasn’t even fresh back then.
Tori - What made it fresh was the complex plot and the impressive acting job (the most compelling of which, in my opinion, was Lorraine).
Did you think the script was well written?
Adam – This was fairly well written and acted for a horror film which was a pleasant surprise after the big let down that was Evil Dead. My main issue with the film was that the film needed more scares. The set up for the terror was there but the follow through was lacking. This was pretty tame for an R rated film.
Scotty – I really liked the beginning of the film so I thought that was well written but the end was just a retread and an overblown mess of an ending. The music queues were subtle in the beginning but obvious towards the end. Why does every Horror Movie treat its’ audience like idiots?
Griff - Plot holes abound. Demons transport magically around even though they are currently possessing someone else. Characters do the usual non-sensical reactions. I did think it had a impressive amount of character development though and some good performances by some of the cast.
Tori - Yes, what made the film so enjoyable was the complexity of the plot. In most horror movies, only one family or person is being plagued by an entity. In The Conjuring, however, we are following two families: the Perrons and the Warrens. Having the Warrens present in the film makes the plot a bit creepier. Even the demonologists, the people that are supposed to be the saviors, are ultimately human and are frightened by this entity as well.
Was there a performance you really liked or really hated?
Adam – To be honest I thought most of the main cast did a stand up job with their performances. If you put a noose around my neck I would say Vera Farmiga had my favorite performance in the film.
Scotty – Ron Livingston (Roger Perron) was a major miscast here; he seemed lost and insincere in his acting and when a moment was important he did not have the ability to emote the appropriate response. Don’t get me wrong I loved him in Office Space but the horror genre does not seem like his thing.
Griff - Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson were the stand outs for me. I haven’t seen Ron Livingston look so miserable in a film since he was telling Jon Favreau that they wanted him to play Goofy. If you look closely you can almost see him trying to throat punch his agent with his mind.
Tori – I loved Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren. She was eerily beautiful and intensely empathetic, which are factors that make the film even scarier because one is easily sucked into her character.
Do you remember a song from the film?
Adam – “Time of the Season” by The Zombies. That is pretty much one of the go to songs to set the tone for a late 60’s early 70’s film.
Scotty - The lack of the score early on the film was one of the best things about the movie, sadly the music shows up a later and was unimpressive. Will someone please make a horror movie with little to no music; silence is scarier than spooky chords on an organ.
Griff - It’s got to be “Time of the Season” although I think they should have tried to find a song from the 1971 instead of 1968. (nit-picky I know, but still…)
Tori – “In the Room Where You Sleep” by Dead Man’s Bones
What was your favorite line?
Adam – “Want to play a game of hide and clap?”
Scotty – “Want to play a game of hide and clap?”
Griff – “There is something horrible happening in my house.”
Tori – “We’ve been called ghost hunters. Paranormal researchers. Wackos.” – Ed Warren
What would have made this a better movie?
Adam - The ability to make me scared.
Scotty – The last 20 minutes of the film was such a letdown because I was under the assumption that we were viewing something better than your average horror film. Director Wan set it up so well but just did not deliver in the end, relying on all the gimmicks and scares of every other horror movie of the last 20 years. I understand it was based on a true story, make it more believable in the end, rewrite the climax of the film would be my suggestion or reshoot it without the bells and whistles.
Griff - Maybe if they made a movie that was actually scary that would have made it better.
Tori – My only criticism of the film would be that it was a bit misleading; we see the character of Lorraine and her fears develop throughout the course of the movie, but it comes to a crashing halt at the end. I was fully convinced that Lorraine was going to be possessed, but in the end, nothing really happened to her. The idea of a savior (Lorraine) being possessed by a demon would have made the plot much creepier. Also, the word “conjuring” was not mentioned once throughout the film, so the decision to name it so confused me a bit.
Is it worth seeing in the theater? Or could you have waited for the DVD/Stream?
Adam - I can see one almost being a better watch if you were home alone late at night watching it by yourself.
Scotty – If you like to see horror films in the theater and the audience makes the experience better for you then do so, you won’t be completely let down, I myself enjoy watching horror films in the quiet of my own home and feel as though I would have lost nothing in doing so.
Griff – I would skip this one. It’s same generic ghost story we have seen dozen’s of times before. There is nothing new here.
Tori - It’ll be much scarier and more convincing if you see it on the big screen.
What other movies would you recommend if someone enjoyed this film?
Adam – 28 Days Later, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and Hellraiser all freaked me out.
Scotty – The Amityville Horror still scares the shit out of me and if you have not seen The Shining then you should be locked in room 237 at the Overlook Hotel.
Griff - I am going to throw out one of my all time favorite and somewhat obscure horror films. Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)
Tori – The Exorcist (the original), The Amityville Horror (the original), Carrie, Insidious
Any final thoughts on this movie?
Adam - Not sure if that Annabelle doll was supposed to make people laugh but that was what happened at the showing we went to. Hell my mom has a bunch of dolls that look creepier than that set up all over her house. After reading a bunch of other folks claiming this film was terrifying I think it might be time for me to re-access my belief that I am a wimp when it comes to horror films. Had anyone heard of hide and clap before watching this film?
Scotty – I have yet to see Insidious, which was directed by the same guy (James Wan), whom also directed Saw, but I feel like he could be the one to make the next great horror film. This film had the right formula but lost its’ way towards the end. Not that many scares but there certainly was an air about the film that felt like you were in your basement in the middle of the night having to light the furnace, at least my basement which is almost 200 years old. I feel as though I was letdown in the end because he made the first half of the film so well, if the whole film sucked then I would have been like “another terrible horror film” but it had potential and the writer director lost it and therefore ruined the film in my opinion. There were a couple of miscasts but I did like seeing Lili Taylor again and felt like the actors and actresses were alright in their roles. The blame for this film goes to writer and director; they seemed rushed at the end and maybe it was because Wan is working on Fast and Furious 7, which I am sure will be a gem.
Griff - I wasn’t kidding when I said people were laughing at this movie during the showing we went to. I actually groaned a points this was so hokey. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and my generation brought so many great horror movies to world. We gave you Freddy, Jason, Michael, and so many other movies. Where are the great horror films from this generation? It seems like we have to go to other countries to see some original horror now days. Is France really making better horror movies than us? (Yes they are!) Am I the only getting tired of these low budget paranormal conjuring of the insidi-sinister movies?
Tori - Great plot, could have been scarier, but overall entertaining to watch.