Copyright © 2013 by Warner Bros.
Based on real life American paranormal investigators and authors associated with prominent cases of haunting Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga), it focuses on one of their encounters with the supernatural that has been terrorizing the Perron family in their farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island in 1971. Determined to never leaving the family alone, the Warrens are not spared from this malice as well and it even goes as far as to torment their daughter Judy (Sterling Jerins). Upon further investigation, the Warrens find out that the entity intends to possess one of the key members and the unexpected turn of events will require more than just a leap of faith to exorcise this demonic presence.
Creepy! To sum it all up in a word and in a good way about James Wan’s follow-up to his previous hit, ‘Insidious’. While there are certain elements which are being re-established in ‘The Conjuring’, the film never loses its momentum from the minute a certain sinister looking doll is introduced to the viewers. Said doll is even getting its own movie. Although it is entirely a different case, the scenes will definitely latch on to you long after it is over. To the actual plot itself, the standouts do not run short. From his success with ‘Insidious’, Wan has upped his ante with the suspense and it is so masterfully crafted that whenever any of the characters are in peril, you cannot help but share the exact same fear.
I kept cowering in my seat every time the Perrons’ daughters are being harassed by the malevolent forces which dwell in their newly purchased home. The ordeals that Christine (Joey King) and Andrea (Shanley Caswell) faced are so harrowing to the point you can only wish you never have to be in their shoes. Even the skeptics are not spared from these unrest souls. For a non-believer, police officer Brad Hamilton’s (John Brotherton) encounter with the supernatural is sure to get one of the biggest jolts from any moviegoer. The familiarity of hide-and-clap will never be looked at the same way again too when these uninvited playmates interrupt a game of innocent fun.
The final revelation of this sinister plot comes full circle when the target for possession was Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) all along and the exorcism performed on her by Ed is unexpected yet bloody. Fittingly so, with an ensemble cast comprising mostly female actors, huge praises certainly go to Farmiga, Taylor and King for turning in understated but impactful performances that rival favourites such as ‘The Sixth Sense’, ‘The Others’, ‘The Ring’ and Farmiga’s previous horror outing, ‘The Orphan’, just to name a few. It’s a welcoming return to see Taylor once again on the big screen after a leave of absence from the industry.
Wilson, collaborating with Wan second time around is just as comfortable with his role as his counterparts and manages to hold his own against the formidable presence of Farmiga. She has been carving a solid body of work since her breakout role in ‘The Departed’ with numerous hits including ‘Source Code’, the Oscar-nominated ‘Up In The Air’ and the aforementioned fright flick. Together, they form a believable partnership as these committed ghosts chasers who were pitted with one of the most terrifying forces ever encountered.
As a sequel has already been commissioned from its commercial and critical success, we can only hope it does not diminish the original’s quality but as an expansion to their other unforgettable cases that they were involved in. For now though, let us just savour another winner from what Wan has crafted through a polished script, distinct music and intelligent editing.
Rated R for sequences of disturbing violence and terror