The Conjuring begins as so many horror films do: Carolyn (Lilli Taylor, Six Feet Under) and Roger Perron (Ron Livingston, Office Space) move with their five daughters into their dream home, a secluded farmhouse, with plenty of character and history. When the family find themselves haunted by a malevolent force, they seek the help of revered demonologists Ed (Patrick Wilson, Watchmen) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air). According to the film posters, The Conjuring is “based on the true case files of the Warrens”.
Having been done so many times before, the haunted house trope is one that does not often incite fear from modern audiences. It is therefore refreshing to see a genuinely terrifying production culminating from the union of James Wan (Saw, Insidious) and screenwriting duo Chad and Carey Hayes (House of Wax, White Out). For the most part, the film follows the formulaic haunted house plot line. The difference here is the introduction of the Warrens, two seasoned paranormal experts who confirm the Perron family’s fears about their home and resolve to help them, whatever the cost. What is most disturbing is that Ed and Lorraine, who have seen it all, are just as petrified by the vicious presence in the house as the Perrons are.
The cast offer solid performances throughout; both leading couples exhibit genuine, yet subtle, chemistry, bringing an authenticity that makes the film all the more chilling. Vera Farmiga is wonderful as Lorraine, the overtly compassionate clairvoyant, while Ron Livingston aptly portrays the simple, charming, family man. However, it is young supporting actress Joey King (Oz the Great and Powerful) who shines brightest with her outstanding performance as the Perrons’ terrorised daughter, Christine.
While the plot offers few surprises, the focus on the investigation and the haunting brings a unique brand of terror. Considering that the Warrens are the same team who investigated the infamous Amityville case, this is a film that could wrench a scream from even the most hard-core horror fan. Well researched, well written and well executed, The Conjuring is an exciting addition to the ranks of modern horror.
The Conjuring is released nationwide on 2nd August 2013.
Watch the trailer for The Conjuring here: