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Tuesday, June 14, 2016


     So I watched THE CONJURING as soon as it was released in 2013, and I must say, I wasn't impressed with it. I'm honestly not a James Wan fanboy- as a matter of fact, I felt INSIDIOUS was one of the most ridiculous horror movies I'd ever seen, and honestly didn't go into THE CONJURING with very high hopes. I sat through it and quite literally forgot about it until recently as THE CONJURING 2 was being released, and started hearing the rave reviews of the sequel. As it so often happens, suddenly I became obsessed with seeing the original again, convinced I hadn't given the film a proper chance and was perhaps missing out on a lost classic, which always gets me excited. I re-watched THE CONJURING, and I must say the film was far more enjoyable the second time around. In fact, dare I say I loved it?

     Yes, dear readers, I loved every single minute of THE CONJURING the second time around. What the hell I was thinking the first time around is beyond me. James Wan brilliantly takes us back to the retro golden age of horror, the 70's and 80's, and delivers a top notch ghost story that thankfully doesn't rely on silly and bloated CGI effects, but instead instead utilizes camera work, good actors, a great story based on actual events, and pure suspense to frighten us. And does a damn good job at it.

     THE CONJURING is based on Ed and Lorraine Warren's most famous case, the story of the Perron family. Supposedly this was their most frightening and disturbing case that they kept hidden from the public until recently, and their involvement with the Amityville case got all the publicity. It was high time the Warrens were portrayed on film, and Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga do a delicious job bringing the campy duo to life. Ron Livingston and Lily Taylor realistically breathe life into Roger and Carol Perron as well, and honestly there's not a bad performance to be found anywhere in the film. I loved that THE CONJURING for the most part keeps it real- it strays away from the ironic, self-aware mentality of many horror films today, and setting the film in 1971 just seems to make it all the more authentic anyhow. If the film were set today, the girls would have been taking pics of the demons and posting them to Instagram or some shit.

      Chock full of high tension and terror, THE CONJURING wonderfully takes a wholly unoriginal premise- the haunted house- and present it to an audience in a totally fresh and creative way. While a smart throwback to THE EXORCIST, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR and THE CHANGELING, it's also an inventive but modern ghost story that's earned a place alongside the greats. There's a lot to admire about a modern horror film that has the audacity to honor and embrace the classic American horror films of the 70's and 80's and stand tall and proud amongst the wretched sea of anemic remakes, teen 'slashers', and sequels that pass for most horror films today. And can we talk about this damn doll?  Of course, dolls are always creepy, and have been used many times to great effect in horror movies throughout the years. Annabelle, the terrifying doll used in THE CONJURING, is no exception. It's the doll of nightmares, and instantly striking a chord in audiences, became a new icon of terror. Enough to get its own spin-off, at least.

          THE CONJURING has no sex, gore, extreme violence, or even swearing, which would normally alienate your core audience- yet the film was still slapped with an R rating due to its scariness and became a box office smash, grossing $318 million in the US alone. That's kind of badass, if you ask me. I'm not the biggest fan of James Wan's work, but his obvious love for the last golden age in horror shines through on this retro/modern ghost story that to me, easily ranks alongside the greats. This is the rare ghost story that actually works, and I'm rushing to see the sequel as soon as possible.

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