Seeing as how I never got the chance to review James Wan’s The Conjuring when it scared up theaters back in July, I figured a Blu-ray review only made sense. Hitting shelves on October 22nd, acclaimed director James Wan’s The Conjuring follows a pair of paranormal investigators who help a family haunted by a demonic force, only to find themselves trapped in their own horrifying nightmare. The film stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Ed and Lorraine Warren; Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor as Roger and Carolyn Perron.
There was a lot riding on James Wan’s shoulders when he decided to bring the Perron family’s story to life as it marked one of the most important hauntings that Ed and Lorraine Warren ever investigated. We’ve seen haunted house flicks time and time again, but rarely are we ever treated to a straight-forward slow burning ride like this one. The film follows the true story of world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren who were called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most horrifying case of their lives.
The film’s biggest strength is its patience. The reason why Wan has become such a force in the genre is because he understands that when you want a horror film to get under the audience’s skin, sometimes less is more—and that’s exactly the approach he takes with The Conjuring. So many of today’s horror films think that just because it’s supposed to be scary they have to shove as many “scares” down our throats as possible within 90 minutes; which results in a mess of jump scares that get old pretty quick. Wan’s film goes down a much different path, however, as he actually had the writers take out a lot of the “scares” because he wanted to build proper tension before scaring the audience—and it worked brilliantly.
It’s one of the very few horror films that actually lives up to the hype and while a lot of that has to do with Wan’s masterful direction, the chemistry between both Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga really bring this one to life. We knew Wilson was going to be great as he’s worked with Wan in the past, but Farmiga was an absolute blast as Lorraine Warren and I can’t wait to see her take on the role once again as both her and Wilson have signed on for multiple films.
I have no complaints here. Every terrifying second of Wan’s film is just leading you towards its brilliant final act in which we see the best exorcism scene in recent memory. Wan has created a true haunted house flick and one that will not likely be topped any time soon. The film perfectly balances scares and tension with a chilling score that slowly creeps under your skin until the credits finally roll. It’s exactly what a horror film should be—scary, tense and unforgettable. Wan may be moving out of the world of horror for a while, but he has no doubt left one hell of a terrifying stamp on the genre.
Special Features Review:
Special features can really be a hit or miss. Sometimes you’ll pick up a Blu-ray and see that there are an overwhelming amount of extras that will take days to pour through, while others skimp out on the goods completely. The special features on The Conjuring sort of fit in between the two. There’s not a whole lot to chew on as you only get three featurettes and neither of them are very long. That being said, each and every one of them are very informative, giving you a lot of details in a short amount of time. If you like to get through the extras in one sitting, then you’ll really dig these.
The Conjuring: Face-to-Face with Terror – Here we get a pretty fascinating look at the true story behind the entire film as we get to see interviews with the Perron family as they talk about the struggles that came from living in the home. Whether or not you find their story true, what they have to say is pretty spooky and definitely worth checking out.
A Life in Demonology – This was definitely my favorite piece of the extras. It’s essentially a mini biography on Ed and Lorraine Warren and how they got started with investigating haunted houses. We also get a peek inside their occult museum which was pretty crazy seeing all of the stuff they’ve collected throughout their years of ghost hunting. The real Anabelle doll is even creepier in real life!
Scaring the @#$% Out of You – I could sit and listen to director James Wan talk about horror films all day long. This section of the special features takes us behind-the-scenes of the film and shows us just how Wan pulls off his scares. It’s always great to hear from the talented mind that brings a film like this to life, so this was pretty interesting. Just too short!