The Conjuring (2013) – 31 Days of Horror: Oct 25

by Jovial Jay

The Conjuring continues the marathon of haunted houses for the 31 Days of Horror this year. This might be the most haunted house yet!

When the trailer for a movie can give you chills, you know that the movie must be good, right?

Before Viewing

The film looks to be set in 1971 as The Warrens, a married couple, investigate the real life paranormal events in house owned by another couple with, it looks like, 5 kids. This does not appear to be a normal haunting or a possession, and it causes both of the Warren’s much concern. Lots of jump scares and freaky goings on, so I’m ready to turn the lights on for this one!

Presented below is the Trailer for the film.

Spoiler Warning - Halloween

After Viewing

I’ve had many movies tell me that they’re based on a true story, but The Conjuring is frighteningly real! In 1971 the Perron family move into a farmhouse in Rhode Island. The father Roger (Ron Livingston) works as a long haul trucker and is frequently out, leaving mother Carolyn (Lily Taylor) to take care of their five daughters. Strange occurrences begin happening in the house such as clocks stopping at 3:07am, pictures falling off the wall, and the door to the basement opening on its own.

Freaked out by these hauntings, Carolyn contacts Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson & Vera Farmiga), two famous demonologists that have just wrapped up a case on the haunting of the Annabelle doll. They do some research on the house, and come to record the mysterious happenings with their team.

Ed & Lorraine discover that a witch had lived on the property hundreds of years ago. She had sacrificed her 7-day old child, and then hung herself in the tree out front. Many other people that have lived on the land since then have gone mad, or reported strange happenings. When the spirit takes harbor in Carolyn, the team must perform an exorcism to get the demon out.

Carolyn attempts to kill her two youngest daughters, but Ed and Lorraine manage to get to her in time, tie her up and perform the dangerous ritual of excising the ghost. They are successful and the family then is able to leave the house. The film ends with Ed & Lorraine getting word that they’re needed at a house on Long Island.

She ran out to that tree by the dock, climbed up, proclaimed her love to Satan, cursed anyone who tried to take her land, and hung herself. Time of death was pronounced at 3:07 in the morning.” – Lorraine Warren

The Conjuring is the scariest haunted house film in this mini marathon. It provides heightened tension, suspense, and scares all without resorting to overt and graphic gore. This film is the spiritual sibling to The Amityville Horror. The Conjuring may actually be more frightening than that film, due to advancements in filmmaking since 1979.

Director James Wan, who has previously spooked audiences with the Saw and Insidious franchises, takes a different tone with this film. The Conjuring takes it’s time setting up the haunting. For example, one of the daughters claiming she sees something, but the audience does not. During the night, one of the daughters leg is tugged on by an unseen force. The mother awakens with odd bruises. Nothing too over the top scary to start with.

But as the film progresses, there are clapping hands that come out of the darkness, a demonic figure leaping off the wardrobe, and other scary imagery guaranteed to make you lose sleep. The cinematography and effects work hand in hand to create a tense mood that gets the audience to such a heightened state of suspense, that the payoff does not have to be big, just shocking, in order to scare them.

All the actors do a great job as down-to-earth people relating to these otherworldly events. Lily Taylor’s performance as the possessed mother is really well done. While Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga help the audience believe in the outrageous events by grounding everything in their knowledge of the occult.

The Conjuring is not a film to watch alone at night in a big house. Trust me. It’s got parts that should only be watched through your fingers, or huddled under a blanket. But if that sort of thing is enjoyable, then this is a great film!

Assorted Musings

  • Patrick Wilson was seen in Bone Tomahawk earlier this month.
  • Vera Farmiga plays Norma Bates on the Bates Motel TV Series.
  • The Conjuring has spurred a series of sequels and prequels, including The Conjuring 2, Annabelle & Annabelle: Creation and the most recent film, The Nun.
  • Entertainment Weekly just announced that the characters of the Warrens will be appearing in a third Annabelle film shortly.

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