The Conjuring ~ A Capsule Movie Review by Allen Kopp
The Conjuring is a ghost story that, we are told at the beginning, is based on a true story. A working-class couple, Carolyn and Roger Perron (played by Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston), buy a large old house (built in the 1860s) in a rural part of Rhode Island. The house, it seems, has an ugly past that the Perrons don’t know about. They have five children, all girls (ranging in age from about five to about sixteen). They are a happy family but soon things start to happen in their new home that they find very unsettling. Their dog, afraid to enter the house from the beginning, puts up a fuss barking and dies mysteriously in the night. Doors open and close by themselves. Mrs. Perron experiences strange bruises on her body that can’t be explained. All the clocks in the house inexplicably stop at 3:07 a.m. every morning. Pictures the Perrons place on the wall of their children are flung down and broken for no apparent reason. Mr. Perron discovers a creepy cellar that had been boarded up for some reason. The children wake up in the night, believing someone is in the room with them. One of the children feels a definite tugging on her leg while she is sleeping but when she wakes up no one is there.
Mrs. Perron asks paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) to come and take a look at the house to try to figure out what is going on. They have worked on many cases of this kind before and usually find a “haunting” to be caused by something that can easily be explained. Not this time, however. Lorraine Warren is a medium; as soon as she goes into the house, she feels it is occupied by a malevolent spirit.
The Warrens discover that the Perrons’ house was the scene of a very horrific occurrence many years earlier involving Satan worship, human sacrifice, suicide, and several unexplained deaths. The spirit that remains in the house wants to possess Mrs. Perron to get her to kill her children. The spirit’s aim is for the entire Perron family to die, which, apparently, will help it to gain favor with Satan. It will do no good for the Perrons to leave, they are told; the spirit has attached itself to them and will go wherever they go.
The Conjuring seems like pretty familiar territory. How many movies and TV shows have there been about an unsuspecting family moving into an interestingly creepy old house that harbors a secret from the past? It always starts out happily enough and then turns dark and edgy as the spirit begins to manifest itself to the innocent occupants of the house. Isn’t this kind of a cliché by now? I was expecting some twist at the end of The Conjuring, such as in Insidious, but there is no such twist. It’s well made and has some interesting characters, but offers up nothing new. It is still worth seeing, though, especially if you, like me, are a fan of haunted house movies.
Copyright © 2013 by Allen Kopp