The Conjuring makes me glad that cinemas exist, as I sit surrounded by people that are equally, if so more, terrified than myself. This film has ‘do not try this at home’ written all over it. A supernatural thrill ride, which will leave you scared of the dark and hearing noises for weeks.
The Conjuring begins with the face of a doll called Annabelle. It makes me think of the film Magic (1978) and why dolls insist on being so creepy. However, Annabelle takes the prize, even above Chucky, she is a sight and we immediately question the intelligence of anyone that feels safe with her sitting on their dressing room chair. Annabelle is used to explain demonic presence by a couple that devote their lives to banishing spirits, Lorraine and Ed Warren. Knowing that this is based on a true story only troubles us further and as I stand on the fence of believing in the supernatural, even I’m distraught.
The film follows a family as they move into their new home, a remote farmhouse. The desolate house is a bit cliché, the film now follows in the footsteps of the supernatural thrillers, The Amityville Horror, The Skeleton Key, Sinister, The Woman in Black and of course, The Ring. This is only to list a few, it’s a cliché that these thrillers cannot escape, because let’s face it; a house surrounded by people to help out wouldn’t be scary. The family are soon haunted by evil spirits that torment their children and push them into contacting the paranormal investigators. As the nightmarish presence of the spirits pursue the family, events escalate and the family become trapped in a secret that the farmhouse has carried for years.
The build up of tension had me hiding behind my hands and pinching my neighbour. Unlike many thrillers, the supernatural ‘ghosts’ or ‘demonic presence’ takes on a strong persona and becomes a force worth being scared of. However, the execution of this build up becomes a little wasted on an amusing exorcism scene. Although the return of Annabelle gives the audience an awful fright, it may come down to what frightens the individual. Although the execution may be a little off, The Conjuring makes a fantastic thrill ride. We see the film through different perspectives, the family that are being haunted and the paranormal investigators. The storyline hinders on cliché, but it’s refreshing and interesting to see the personal implications that spirits have on the investigators.
True to the story, it is set in 1971 and I thought this was a fantastic timely element that almost made the ghosts ‘old school’. Although I wanted a little more from the finale, it is actually quite a sweet story that highlights the strength in unison and family love. The Innkeepers (2011) is still my favourite ghoul ride, but The Conjuring delivers nail biting and heart stopping scares.
Watch the trailer: