The Conjuring (2013)

The Conjuring, 2013, Directed by James Wan

For our third night at the movies of Poptober horror, we at Pop Teez have picked something fairly contemporary for you – 2013’s The Conjuring.

Directed by James Wan and based on a “true story” (from the files of real life Connecticut paranormal explorer couple Ed & Lorraine Warren) The Conjuring is a well bended mix of modern film and classic 1970s horror sensibilities. It harkens back favorably to the likes of The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror (the latter of which, it should be noted, was also based on a Warrens paranormal case).

Opening up with a brief prologue that both tells us all we need to know about the Warrens and brilliantly sets up yet another horror franchise (2014’s Annabelle and it’s 2017 sequel), we quickly settle in with young blue collar family, the Perrons (Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston, far away from his Office Space). The Perrons, who have 5 daughters, have just moved into a new house in Rhode Island. It soon becomes clear, as eerie things begin to occur, that the house is haunted. Doors close on their own, disembodied voices are heard, and even a boarded up stair case is discovered. Soon the simply discomfortingly unexplainable becomes a nasty and dangerous. And the Perrons find themselves unable to leave for just having poured all of their money into the new house. As dad Roger Perron says, who is going to take in a family of 7? So they do the only thing they can think of: they seek out the Warrens to help solve their problems.

The Conjuring works best when it allows our own imaginations to scare us. While there are enough jump scares, eerie atmospherics and dark imagery to make any classic 70s horror story fan happy, it’s the sound design and score in particular that are extremely effective in this. Towards the end, the modern hollywood sensibilities finally betray the story a little.   The over the top ending, while all noise and chaos, does end up sapping a bit from the power of the very effective setup — even the soundtrack betrays us a little bit at the coda. But it’s still not enough to be a deal breaker, at least for us here at Pop Teez.

Watch alone at night in a darkened room for maximum effect. And after viewing, you may not be likely to keep any quirky toy music boxes you find around.

Dr. Vorhees