Film Review: The Conjuring

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I realize I am a bit late with my review of The Conjuring. I only have one excuse for putting off seeing it and perhaps you will find it valid and excusable: I hate James Wan movies. I do. I hate James Wan movies. I honestly believe that his films are part of what is ruining the horror genre.

Now before I go into my James Wan rant, I will say this: Saw was a phenomenal film. It was well written and the idea behind it was brilliant. Saw brought something new to the genre by creating a villain who didn’t actually kill anyone. The villain put death into the hands of the victims. Only you could decide your fate by doing whatever you needed to survive. Seriously, the film was genius. It should have ended there. We should have known that Hollywood would have run with it, creating awful sequel after awful sequel until the story dissolved somewhere into space and all that was left was gore and shock value.

But Saw is where his film career peaked and he had nowhere to go but down, and he did. Saw III was just alright as the story of Saw was really taking a downward spiral by making Amanda the new villain instead of the victims themselves. The real “Wan Terrible Film Series” began with Dead Silence, a film he wrote and directed about a woman and her ventriloquists dummies who haunted a town and murdered its children. If the story sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is.

Then came Insidious. I am embarrassed that people find that film to be not only frightening, but unpredictable. Sure, the first half of the film was pretty good but then Darth Maul came in sans double ended lightsabre and just destroyed any chance of a decent ending for the film. Come on guys, how did you not see the old lady taking him over? That ending hit me in the face like a Mack truck the second his mother started talking about the old woman following him as a kid. If you watch horror films and did not see that coming, you have paid attention to nothing.

Now, there is The Conjuring. Much to the tune of Insidious, the film started out alright. Very much like The Amityville Horror, Roger (Ron Livingston), Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and their five daughters move into a house in the middle of nowhere that they got for unreasonably cheap. On their first night, they discover that the house has a basement that has been boarded up.

*Let me jump in here and say that you should never open up something that has been boarded shut. You should also never listen to the music box and never, ever read the Latin.*

Now that the basement is open, the family beings to experience strange noises, disgusting rotten meat smells and the occasional tugging of the foot in their sleep. Again, just like The Amityville Horror, the youngest daughter, April, begins to talk to an imaginary friend, Rory, who died in the house.

On one day in particular, things begin to go horribly wrong. All of the pictures on the wall are knocked off by an invisible force and there is a loud clapping noise that draws Carolyn to the basement. When she is thrown down the stairs by a malevolent force and the oldest daughter, Andrea, is attacked by a female ghost, the family must turn to Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, who are demonologists. They pronounce the house haunted by a demon and set to get proof in order to get an exorcism for the home.

In order to avoid spoiling the film, I won’t go into further detail. Oh who am I kidding, the ending is completely predictable! Wan feels the need to have his last shot be what he obviously thinks is a tense or shocking moment but instead provides no more shock than catching static off a doorknob. The entire ending to the story itself was rushed and was incredibly weak. The conclusion to the demon lasted maybe ten minutes, really didn’t take a whole lot of effort and gave very little detail as to how it was accomplished.

As for whether or not it was scary, it was all jump scares, just like Insidious and Dead Silence. This is why I say Wan’s films are helping destroy horror; his films are nothing but jump scares. People have become accustomed to being afraid of jump scares and thinking that this makes a film truly scary. Horror movies used to terrify. People would pass out in theaters. You could actually step over puddles of vomit leaving a horror film. Films like The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror were really frightening. They were creative, they were realistic and they gave people a reason to keep their lights on at night. Who doesn’t get a bit nervous when camping because of Jason Voorhees? No one wanted to sleep after A Nightmare on Elm Street because Freddy would kill you in your dreams. I won’t lose a wink of sleep over The Conjuring because it gave me nothing to fear except the possibility that I could turn my head and find someone standing really close to me or that maybe a picture might fall off of my wall when it’s really quiet. Sounds terrifying, doesn’t it?

The film ripped off The Amityville Horror, Poltergeist and The Sixth Sense with a not so subtle hint of Insidious and still couldn’t pull off being a scary movie. Despite the decent acting, the story just wasn’t strong enough and the so- called “scares” were no more than mediocre. Anyone who can honestly say that this was the scariest film they’ve ever seen, needs to take a few lessons in horror because Kathy Bates naked in About Schmidt gave me a bigger fright than the entirety of The Conjuring.

Just a giant nerd in love with horror, 80's action flicks, Star Wars and Harry Potter. Hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @scarletjupiter to talk horror or just to browse the horror collection.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks i work 120 hours a week and if i would have gone seen this, i would have kill someone leaving the theather… we need NEW BLOoD to start making better horror movies…

  2. Thank the sweet fucking lord someone agreed with me. The Conjuring sucked horse balls. You can check out our reviews at drunkinagraveyard.wordpress.com

    • Indeed! Been wanting to see it for ages, so looking forward to it. Have just seen it about half hour ago and hard it! What film was everybody else watching?!

  3. I can’t take a horror critique seriously when the person writing it uses Friday the 13th as a great example of a scary movie. Was The Conjuring the scariest movie ever made? Of course not. The effect it has had on people, however, cannot be ignored. Even if jaded horror-buffs such as ourselves who have spent more time dissecting horror movies than anyone ever reasonably should find it predictable and less-than-terrifying, let’s give credit where it’s due. When movies like Evil Dead (2013), Sinister, and the umpteen hundred Exorcism Of – movies are considered “modern horror”, a movie like The Conjuring is a breath of fresh air in comparison. It’s a decent horror movie, it gives viewers thrills, and is being tweeted about non-stop. For those reasons alone I feel it deserves a better review than what has been given here.

    • Friday the 13th may not be considered scary today but, when it was released it sure was. The Conjuring is nothing original, therefore not a “breath of fresh air” to me There have been more than enough movies about families moving into houses that are haunted by demons in the past decade.
      How does this not qualify as one of your “Exorcism Of” movies when that is exactly what happens?
      As for the Twitter argument, Sharknado was also the topic of Twitter and Facebook for weeks but that doesn’t make it a good movie. At least Sharknado was original.

  4. What?! This is the most tedious, boring, derivative film with the poorest acting, zero atmosphere, and forced, banal narrative I’ve seen in a long time. An hour and five excruciatingly dull minutes into the film, my husband and I left. Ahhhh! What a relief to be out of there, finished with waiting another protracted minute for something scary, compelling, meaningful on any artistic, entertainment, fun level to happen! We did laugh as the film went on at all of the contrived jump “scares,” while whispering “OMG, this is soooo baaaad, stupid, boring, waste of money/time, Are you ready to go yet?”

    You have to be from another planet, first day on earth, first “scary” movie you’ve ever seen, to like this terrible film! For your second day on earth, try The Devil’s Backbone, The Shining, The Innocents, The Others, The Exorcism, The Omen, The Ring, The Woman in Black.”

    Skip this rubbish.

  5. If you don’t like someone, then why review their movies? You’re right about the conjuring, it wasn’t good by any standard, and I was very disappointed in it. But you’re immature way of expressing yourself is sickening.

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