Just Been Watching…(81)

The Conjuring (2013)

As most of you know already, I couldn’t care less about Halloween. But one good thing about it is that the TV companies use it as an excuse to re-run dozens of horror films, usually starting in September. (It feels like that, to me) Most of them are familiar favourites, with the big-hitters like the original ‘Halloween’ usually reserved for the night of the 31st. But as a film fan, I like to examine the schedules around that date, and pick up on something I might have missed previously. Last night, that happened, and I got to see ‘The Conjuring’.

A familiar theme, and one we have seen before. Supposedly based on a true story from the 1970s, we have a nice family moving into a big old house in the country. Hard-working Dad, loving Mum, and their five daughters. The film doesn’t wait too long to start delivering some shocks, as the family soon discover that there is something very wrong lurking within their new home. Mum decides to enlist the help of a team of paranormal investigators, and they arrive with lots of equipment, cameras, sound recording devices, and a wealth of previous experience in the field.

First off, the cast is strong. The reliable Patrick Wilson stars as the investigator, Ed Warren, with the excellent Vera Farmiga as his psychic wife, Lorraine. Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston are good as the concerned parents, and the young actors playing the five daughters all do their jobs well. The film is set in the 1970s, and feels like it was made then, so full marks for that too. Without any spoilers, I can only give an overview, but if you have seen any similar film, you will know what to expect.

Demonic possession, and a dark history surrounding the house. Spooky wardrobes and scary cellar, hidden passages, and unknown corridors. Exorcism, things thrown around, doors slamming, sleep-walking, and unusual sights and sounds. Confronting evil, religious symbols, and a worried priest.

Yes, it’s all there.

But there’s a BUT. It is actually very good! Deciding to leave out blood, gore, body horror, and violence worked, and it worked really well. Even the well-telegraphed shocks are kept to an effective minimum, and sensible lighting means we can actually see what happens. Everyone takes it very seriously, and the restrained use of special effects makes it a lot more believable. Wilson and Farmiga make a great couple, and are also convincing as determined paranormal investigators, on top of their game.

As ‘Haunted House’ films go, this is one of the best, in my opinion.
(I can’t speak for the sequels, as I haven’t seen them.)

28 thoughts on “Just Been Watching…(81)

  1. These films are very popular right now, and you are right – they forego blood and violence for moody suspense and chills…they are very well made and acted as well…completely different than the “Saw” style horror…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t seen “The Conjuring.” I have a couple of haunted house films on DVD, and a handful of other types of horror films, but I think as Halloween approaches I’ll re-watch “The Exorcist.” That film has special significance for me, as it recalls an event that happened to me in Nice, France back in 1974.

    Having just read the book in French translation, cover to cover, in one day, I went to a late night showing of the film. In the wee hours of the morning, I walked back across town. The streets were deserted, and I could hear my footsteps resounding off the buildings. As I approached a wedge-shaped building at an intersection, a shadowy figure jumped out in front of me, and scared the hell out of me! It was a prostitute. I declined her offer…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a hard time with spooky films. I’m so sensitive, they really disturb me long after watching them. I saw one recently and thought I’d blog about it for Halloween. Anyway, if I ever get the gumption to watch a scary flick, I’ll watch The Conjuring. Everyone seems to like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Come Join My Blog Party – The More The Scarier!
    Leave links to blog posts (yours or others, doesn’t have to be Halloween-related, all are welcome), books, social media, whatever!
    Leave as many as you want (one per comment box please!).
    No mandatory comments, likes, shares, no time limits, reblogs (although all are much appreciated)!!!
    Hope this weekend is Spooktacular!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The conjuring has now been turned into an entire franchise, with movies like Annabelle, and the recent The Nun also being part of it. Honestly though: this one really is very good. As you say it features a strong cast, and the use of mostly practical effects made it a lot more believable. I’m a bit done with haunted house movies, feeling as this genre has really been done to death now, but this one is very good. And I do have to admit that the Conjuring 2 is very decent as well. It’s not as good as this one admittedly, but it certainly comes close. Great review Pete, as always 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Michel. I very much doubt I will bother with the sequels, and like you, I have really had enough of the haunted house genre. I probably wouldn’t have watched it, except it was on TV when nothing else appealed. But this one genuinely surprised me. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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