The Conjuring – USA, 2013

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The Conjuring is a 2013 supernatural horror film directed by James Wan (Insidious; Saw) from a screenplay by Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes. It was produced by New Line Cinema.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga star as Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators, asked to the assist the Perron family (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), who are experiencing increasingly disturbing events in their farmhouse in Rhode Island in 1971.

By November 13, 2014, the film had taken $318,000,141 worldwide. Wan directed The Conjuring 2 in 2016.

Main cast:

Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor.

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Plot:

When a rural family of seven begin to suspect that they are not alone on their Harrisville, RI farmstead, they hire world-renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren to check out their secluded farmhouse.

The Warrens may be seasoned ghost hunters, but they soon realize that they are in over their heads. As supernatural activity around the home becomes increasingly violent and ominous, the couple must fight for their lives in order to destroy the most terrifying evil they have ever encountered…

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Ed and Lorraine Warren are real life paranormal investigators. Their most famous case is The Amityville Horror.

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“It’s all standard-issue setup, but it’s clear Wan knows that just as much as the audience. The film is littered with references to genre classics — PoltergeistThe Changeling, Robert Wise’s The Haunting — but they’re never foregrounded. They’re passing nods; a filmmaker acknowledging what excites him, and letting the audience know he’s a fan, too. Instead, Wan uses the familiar plot as a canvas for his own bravura performance in genre filmmaking.” Bryan Bishop, TheVerge.com

‘The grisly SAW already proved that Wan can plant a neat scare, but working in more classical horror vein seems to have fired his imagination: he’s still flying the B-movie flag proudly, but there’s elegance and wit to his exploitation. As proceedings turn shriekier The Conjuring maintains an unexpectedly warm human grip on its characters: the Perrons and Warrens are credible, flawed families we can root for, even amid the amped-up genre showmanship that surrounds them.’ London Evening Standard

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Buy: Amazon.com

The Conjuring has just enough tongue-in-cheek visual elements—like the goofy yellow font introducing the film’s title and “true-story” origins, the ostentatious zooms, and the prevalence of high-waist jeans—to maintain an element of levity without undermining the film’s frights. The period touches never distract from the deft storytelling, in which Wan juggles two separate families and their distinct wants, fears, and stakes…” Sarah Mankoff, Film Comment

The Conjuring isn’t merely a spot-on period re-creation — it’s a fiendishly effective throwback to Seventies-style studio horror, back when methodical pacing and an icy tone trumped cheap gore. Stately, sophisticated dread permeates every frame, with Wan devilishly toying with his audience as they jump at every creaky floorboard and random trip to the super-creepy basement.” Tim Grierson, Rolling Stone

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“Most of the effects in The Conjuring were created practically on set, rather than through a computer, which makes them feel all the more real. The cinematography by Frank Leonetti is simple and beautiful, and together with Wan, has created some creepy images, which may become iconic and possibly will be lampooned by the Wayans brothers at some point.” Alicia Malone, IGN

“On the downside, the “true story” aspect means that things don’t ever get too dark and each twist and turn is well signposted. It’s also more than a little saccharine, with a few moments that may well draw a groan from the more cynical members of the audience. But when Wan winds The Conjuring up and lets it go, it’s great fun. There is a discernible formula but it’s one he’s finely honed: scaring the daylights out of an excellent cast.” Jonathan Hatfull, Sci-FiNow.co.uk

The Conjuring isn’t breaking any new ground, but the usual suspects are used well. There’s a creepy doll, lots of sounds and bumps in the night, ghostly figures in the shadows, and sound design that ups the ante and establishes an atmosphere of tension and horror. Well plotted and paced, Wan uses what we know and expect to great ends. The whole film is designed to keep you on the edge of your seat and keep you uneasy.” Brent McKnight, BeyondHollywood.com

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“Although the budget was likely modest, attention to detail is rich. The musical score sets a menacing tone and is also an effective tease, changing things up to avoid tipping off the audience. As action builds, the camera work seems to get a little shakier and rise to impossible angles, as if the demons are handling the cinematography as well.” Peter Hartlaub, SFGate.com

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Buy: Amazon.co.uk

Choice dialogue:

“By the power of God, I condemn you back to Hell!”

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Posted by Will Holland

Wikipedia | IMDb | Official Site | Related: A Haunted House 2

 

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