Not even in the summer swelter can audiences escape the chilling frights brought on by ‘Saw’ and ‘Insidious’ director James Wan’s latest film, ‘The Conjuring.’
Based upon one of the many case files of Ed and Lorriane Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga respectively, the film is a look at their encounters with the Perron Family, lead by Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor, alongside with their daughters as they deal with a paranormal experience terrorizing their new home in Rhode Island. The Warrens, armed with their knowledge of the supernatural, start to take the case head on, only to discover this might be the most destructive and terrifying case they have ever witnessed.
Wan brings his signature styles of terror by delivering another winner that is closer with his work in ‘Insidious’ providing slow builds to amplify the scares with great Hitchcock-like suspense to help create an uneasy feeling to film-goers. The scares never feel forced or go over the top like current horror films and manages to recreate feelings of classic spook house features of the 70’s. When the scares come, they feel natural and unexpected unlike the scares of last year’s scare flick ‘Sinister’ which were predictable and played to much to what audiences already know. The depth it goes into to explain what the Warrens do for a living and what they have experience, along with going more into the Perron’s daily life, drives the film with a more personal and unique touch, a element missing from the modern supernatural films. Knowing the bond that keeps the Warrens together gives the audience a couple to root for and hope they pull together in the end.
The acting is all around stellar with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga performing as the Warrens with expertise and genuine fright as the story continues into much darker territory. Farmiga as Lorraine is fantastic capturing every emotion and sense of concern with realism and foresight as Wilson supports as the intelligent yet unsure Ed. Lili Taylor fits into her role well and even shines in later scenes tackling a feat most actresses in a film such as this could not take on. The five daughters, portrayed by Mackenzie Foy, Shannon Kook, Joey King, Hayley McFarland, Shanley Caswell and Kyla Deaver, tackle on as the paranormal bait with strength and uncertainty of the situation at hand being both wide eyed and in fear of what is next. The only complaint of the film would be that some supporting characters get limited time and explanation as to why they show up, but it is only a minor complaint in a feature like this.
‘The Conjuring’ is a near-perfect summer scare that is actually terrifying and will leave one shaking long after the credits roll with scares aplenty, a story worth mentioning and characters one can actually root for than despise. ‘The Conjuring’ is rated R for sequences of disturbing violence and terror.