Rated R 3 stars out of 5
I was not going to let “The Conjuring” keep me away from the movies. Sure, I was scared to watch “The Wizard of Oz” when I was little… okay, even after I had my driver’s license in 1975, but today, I sat there and said, “Conjure on.”
Like many movies of this type, it starts when a nice family moves into an old house they bought without a good home inspection or demon rider on their insurance. Roger (Ron Livingston of Office Space) and Carolyn (Lili Taylor of The Haunting) move out into the woods with their five young daughters. Right there I felt the horror to come, and I only have two daughters. Director James Wan (Saw) uses all the old tricks to scare us, from creaking doors to imaginary friends. Carolyn and her girls play a fun game called clap and hide, which I heard about in college, though I did not date girls from Radford. It does not take long for them to realize the previous owner has not “moved on” and does not like them one single bit.
The movie is based on real events from the chronicles of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson of Barry Munday and Vera Famiga of Up in the Air), who studied these phenomena. This is supposed to make it more chilling, and for me, it did, since my life is based on a true story. These two are the experts, and right away they know they are up against serious evil. As this is set in 1971, it bothered me just how comfortable they were in identifying the nature of the problem and type of demon, and they didn’t even have a logo on their car of a ghost with a line drawn through it.
I admit it was a little scary, I mean for the little girls living in the house, and for their mother played by the amazing Lili Taylor. I just love her, and maybe one day she will agree to read my screenplay “50 Songs About Joe – He Lies” and that demon can be exorcised. I can’t say that Ron Livingston did anything for me here. He seemed to be in the same trance he was under in “Office Space” and even when his wife and daughter were in eminent danger, he had the same emotion in his voice I have at Starbucks. I know less is more, but in his case it really was less.
So I was a little scared, and a little surprised it was not terrible. They did not raise the bar, or the dead, but delivered a nice scary movie that was not just stupid like “Dark Skies.” I’m also giving Wan credit for not using torture porn and giving new meaning to being three sheets to the wind. For that they get 3 stars from me, and I need to see if my granddaughter will let me borrow her owl nightlight.
Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker.
Here is a link to his movie review site: http://bashmovies.wordpress.com/