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Elevating expectations and redefining box office success, “The Conjuring” balances both substance and scares to deliver a truly effective horror film. 

ConjuringOur story begins on a day like any other, with paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine preparing to investigate one of the most malevolent hauntings ever documented.

The Conjuring is a 2013 horror movie, directed by James Wan (Saw, Insidious) and written by Chad and Carey Hayes. It stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as the real-life ghost hunters, Ed and Lorraine Warren. The film chronicles the purported experiences of the Perron family in the 1970s and the Warrens’ attempts to help rid the Perrons of unwanted and harmful specters.

The Conjuring manages to do something so few supernatural horror films ever accomplish…truly terrify. 

The representation of the demonic activities that plagued a family of seven (Roger and Carolyn Perron and their five daughters) in Harrisville, Rhode Island, are chilling and quite disturbing. Although I always try to find some good in every film I see, many modern horror movies can be — at best — hit or miss. However, I found THE CONJURING to be a brilliant and scary film, made even more frightening as a result of its real life origins.

James Wan did a masterful job directing the film, perfectly recreating the look and feel of the 70s. His use of angles moving slowly into a scene was very reminiscent of The Exorcist — giving viewers that eerie feeling that a demon is lurking over the family throughout the film. One particular nail-biting sequence of events had me on the edge of my site. Creepy girls laughing in the dark always gets me for some reason.

Ed and Lorraine Warren are people who have gone into the depths of hell to help innocent people beat evil. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga perfectly portrayed this couple, and their onscreen chemistry together was palpable. It would be easy to believe the two were a couple offscreen as well. Farmiga was especially dazzling in her role, delivering a knockout performance that blew me away. She simply lights up the screen, and her overwhelming star power is hard to argue.

In fact, the casting for this film was nothing short of inspired. Everyone seemed to give it their all, and you could tell there was a real passion among the cast and crew to truly deliver something exceptional. Perhaps it’s an appreciation for the actual events and individuals portrayed in the film that made everyone involved want to bring their A-game.

Honestly, I have so much love for this film — not only because it’s such an effective horror film, with genuine scares, but because I truly cared about the characters. It was easy to feel for the family plagued by evil entities.

Lili Taylor absolutely shines as the Carolyn Perron. She gives such a convincing and memorable performance. I think she’s always been great, and it was refreshing to see her in a film of this caliber…giving her the chance to show her horror chops in something better than The Haunting.

The Conjuring was a huge success at the box office, breaking records and becoming one of the highest-grossing horror films of all time. The film also launched what has been dubbed “The Conjuring Universe,” a family of interlinked films that has even been compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This includes the direct sequel, The Conjuring 2, the prequel, Annabelle, and the prequel to the prequel, Annabelle: Creation. It also includes two spin-off films currently in production, The Nun and The Crooked Man.

If you haven’t seen The Conjuring, I urge you to check it out — both for its effectiveness as a horror film and its impact on the genre. 

Written by William Stamper

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