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This screamer from the creator of Saw just might be the best new horror movie in years....
Warner / 112 Minutes / 2013 / Rated R / Street Date: October 22, 2013
What intrigues one most within the realm of James Wan’s The Conjuring is its purposeful, refreshing retro horror throwback. The film isn’t necessarily cheesy (it is in places, but not in any kind of uniform capacity), but one gets the crystalline impression that this eerie tale of a house with deep, dark secrets is a love letter of sorts to movies like The Amityville Horror and The Last House on the Left.
Of course, Wan utilizes cinematic tools that made his Saw movies so notorious – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, no? – but a large facet of The Conjuring’s monstrous summertime multiplex success lies in the fact that it’s somehow nostalgic without being distractingly postmodern. There are bells and whistles everywhere that log the film as being distinctly modern, but it shares an overall feel more to, say, The Changeling with George C. Scott than it does to any of the Paranormal Activity movies.
Our setting is early 1970s Rhode Island, at a farmhouse whose inhabitants are having a bit of trouble, to say the least. Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and Roger (Ron Livingston), along with their creepy-ass daughters, have been having terrible visions and encounters with entities that may or may not be of this world. They call in a pair of investigative specialists (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) to see whether the family is just seeing things, or if there are true dangers lurking within the creaky halls of their shadowy home.
One gets the impression that The Conjuring may be a one-and-done affair, that its thrills and chills rely pretty heavily on that pang of initial scariness, but speaking as someone who didn’t catch the movie in cinemas, I must attest that this Blu-ray Disc provides a wonderful way to have a good ol’ time getting a scare or two. It’s not needlessly gory or riddled with grotesque torture as so many other contemporary horror flicks are – no, The Conjuring is a simple, involving ghost story that works like gangbusters.
And it’ll make you want to watch the original Halloween again, too…