Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Shannon Kook, John Brotherton, Sterling Jerins
Directed by James Wan
Expectations: High. I’ve heard a lot of hot fire about this one.
Watching The Conjuring made me think about the horror genre, but that isn’t really a good thing. The film highlights aspects of the modern horror film that I feel are exactly what drove the genre into the ground, so instead of being involved and drawn into the film at hand, I was sitting there trying to figure out why I wasn’t doing just that. I enjoyed the film — it’s a fun piece of dumb fluff — but in terms of horror it’s a paltry example of the genre and it makes me sad that this (along with the remake of Evil Dead) are being championed as the 2013 high points of the genre.
The Conjuring is supposedly based on a true story from the case files of a very famous pair of paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Amityville Horror was also inspired by their work, but the difference here is that The Conjuring makes the Warrens characters in the film. They bring with them a small team of ghost hunters with audio equipment and fancy cameras to capture the apparitions haunting the house. I assume that a basic haunted house story would have been seen as too easy and derivative, so the filmmakers added this layer on top to distinguish the film from the pack.