‘The Conjuring’ is a 2013 supernatural horror film directed by James Wan. It is the first in the mega successful Conjuring horror movie series. The Conjuring series is based loosely on the lives of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were prominent paranormal investigators/demonologists in the 70’s. This movie takes a page from their book and crafts a compelling horror story around it. This movie also has heavy references to the spin-off, Annabelle.
The story is about the Perron family who are not very well-off and have decided to live in an old farmhouse in Rhode Island because the prices are affordable. The farmhouse is not in great condition. Their dog refuses to enter the house and dies the next morning. Slowly, odd things begin to happen in the house and then Carolyn (the mother) begins to suspect it to be haunted. They then call Lorraine and Ed Warren to investigate. This is crux of the story. An important thing to note is that Lorraine Warren has the ability to see between realms (or as I understand it) of life and death. She can see spirits and even demons. They also figure out how the house has a history of witchcraft, satanic rituals and so much more. They thus conclude, that the house is haunted and needs to be cleansed.
The movie has a great storyline which has constant hints and references to upcoming movies and stories of the franchise. A lot of horror movies tend to rely on gore in order to simulate the feel of ‘horror’ but it ends up looking shabby, disgusting and sometimes even funny. Conjuring has successfully used story, characters and emotions in order to play out a movie and the horror is very real and has a strong basis and explanation which makes it further nerve-wrecking to watch. The film has a sole antagonist (the spirit, of course) which has a core motive or a goal that the Perrons and the Warrens figure out and understand through the course of the story and eventually attempt to prevent it from achieving it. The Warrens are well-rounded, real characters with a background about a daughter and a history with several investigations. They have their worries, problems and fears about their profession; especially when it begins to affect their daughter. We see how selfless, giving, caring and brave the Warrens are and despite everything they go through, they are committed to protecting these people.
The film is so impressive and appealing because it is certain of itself. The tone, theme, mood and everything else is so well-knit that it keeps you wanting more. Along with being a horror, it is a mystery as well. It gives the audience subtle set-ups which are later revealed to be extremely important for the film. The most obvious being – the game of three claps. It also cleverly uses children and innocence to incorporate horror. Yes, there are definitely cliches, but they are used differently and effectively. The pacing during the horror sequences is coupled with the lengthy, patient shots and just enough sound to give you shivers. Each horror sequence relates to clues, carefully placed in the film in order for the audience to slowly begin placing them together. Like I said, it’s a mystery. The best part is how none of the horror sequences are pointless and meant only for us to scream – they give us an essential detail about the history of the place or the characters. The film is not all over the place, that’s the best part. As an audience, the time and energy we invest into understanding the story and characters is paid off at the end. We go on emotional journey watching the Perron family, especially the mother, who goes through the worst. One of the most interesting and I feel necessary incorporation was to show the credibility of Lorraine and Ed Warren and their social standing; otherwise they would be just any other ghostbuster team. They have a reputation and are constantly in battle, explaining how true everything they do is to the world. Thus, when we see them come in, as an audience, we feel safe.
Overall, it is a great watch and if you’re looking for horror, look no further! This is best so far and you will certainly not regret it.