Sound Off: James Wan's 'The Conjuring' - So What Did You Think?
by Alex Billington
July 22, 2013
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Based on the true case files of the Warrens. Now playing in theaters everywhere is James Wan's The Conjuring, the newest haunted house supernatural horror movie based on real world events. Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston play the parents of a family that moves into a farmhouse terrorized by a dark presence. They seek out the help of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. Were you scared by what they find? How is the movie itself? Once you've seen it, post a comment with your thoughts on James Wan's The Conjuring.
Spoiler Warning: We strongly urge everyone to actually see the film before reading ahead, as there may be spoilers below. We also encourage all commenters to keep major spoilers from the film to a minimum, if possible. However, this is an open discussion from this point on! Beware of spoilers, don't ruin this film!
To spook the guests, I liked The Conjuring quite a bit, it's a great horror film from start to finish. James Wan is a very talented director and has delivered an intimate, chilling and yet thoroughly entertaining horror-thriller. I love that tracking shot early on that follows everyone through the house, such a great way to setup the layout of the house and introduce everyone and give a feel of the place. In all honesty, I wasn't as scared as I was expecting to be (though maybe I had a bit of trouble believing in the reality of what was happening), but there were a couple of moments I almost had to cover my eyes because it was so freaky. I love how skilled Wan is at building terrifying tension using the sound and visuals and music, you can't hide.
What did you think of James Wan's The Conjuring? Instant horror classic or boring drama? We will remove any comments that indicate you have not seen the movie, as this area is meant to discuss the film only once you have seen it and can talk about your thoughts. Please keep the comments civilized!
Reader Feedback - 15 Comments
Once the movie started to pick up toward the last third, I really started to enjoy it. The possessed and ghost apparitions were freaky looking. That's what got me. the makeup. so damn good.
Jacob Denton on Jul 22, 2013
Fantastic work. Mature and classic. Has a vintage feel to it. Lots of nods to movies like Poltergeist and Exorcist. I think James Wan's best work yet and I really liked SAW.
ragethorn on Jul 22, 2013
INSIDIOUS > THE CONJURING. I thought THE CONJURING was very good, but never delivered the sheer terror I felt during INSIDIOUS. Everyone's performance in THE CONJURING was very good and the plot was very interesting. I wanted to see the story behind that Samurai armor! I really liked the scene when The witch's ghost was connecting with the demon doll. That was so great. I can't wait for INSIDIOUS 2.
DAVIDPD on Jul 22, 2013
Wow, if that's the case I'm definitely skipping The Conjuring...thanks.
zey on Jul 22, 2013
The Conjuring is better than Insidious
Max on Jul 22, 2013
I'm just going to copy and paste my review that was posted on the site I write for: ------------------------------ Going into this flick, I was not sure what to expect. James Wan’s films have been very hit-or-miss for me. In my opinion, he has made one great film (Saw), a terrible film (Dead Silence), and a film which was good for its first two thirds and fell apart in the third (Insidious). Now that I’ve seen The Conjuring, I can add another great film to the list. The Conjuring follows a family who moves into a farmhouse which is haunted. They bring in paranormal investigators to help them get rid of the horrid spirits. Sound like a typical horror flick? Maybe it is, plot-wise. When it comes to horror, it does not really matter as long as it does not fall into typical tropes, which this one does not. Comedies and horrors are a lot alike. Their plots do not usually matter too much. They both require real people as characters to make you care about what they are doing. They both require a certain amount of set up to make the scares/laughs worth it. The longer the set-up (and the more clever the set-up), the louder the screams and the laughs. This film excels in all of these areas, making the audience care about what happens to each character, whether it be the investigating couple, Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson respectively), the tortured owners of the house Roger and Carolyn Perron (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), or their kids (too many to count). In the first thirty minutes, there is no real horror aside from the ‘prologue,’ per say. Whenever something happens, it is relatively subtle. The real scares happen for the following hour and a half relentlessly, terrifying the audience and I. This is due to the collaboration of director James Wan, director of photography John R. Leonetti, and art diretor Geoffrey S. Grimsman. They do amazingly, using every detail of the house to create a sense of unease throughout. There is an early shot, beginning in the driveway of the house and leading up through to the back patio as the family moves into the home. It grabs a bit of conversation from every member, slyly making the audience feel something for everyone. Some antics from the kids, silly things they do, acting like a real family. Yet, there is a dark presence in the shot, a tree in the background which later has a bit of a story to it. There will be spoilers in the following two paragraphs!! Skip ahead if you do not want to read these! A recurring motif of the film are the mirrors seen throughout. They are present in almost every room. Reflections are used to reveal people, to reveal the past of the house, to reveal the demonic presences. I kept expecting to see something in one of them at some point, but never did. In film I always love seeing so many of those, keeping most characters in frame, even if they are technically ‘out’. What is the deeper meaning behind the mirrors, behind the reflections, you ask? Well, the way I see it? When one looks into a mirror, s/he sees him or herself for what he or she really is and see what he or she feels. Most of the ghouls in the film are female, or are dead because of their mothers. Demons in the house possessed mothers and forced them to kill their children and then themselves. Clearly, the film is about the fear of maternal rejection. At one point Carolyn asks, “How could mothers do this to their children?” Lorraine (another mother) answers, “because they do not consider the child to be theirs.” Carolyn is later possessed by the demon and attempts to kill her two daughters. After a somewhat failed exorcism, she is forced to reflect (pow, reflection) upon happy thoughts she had with her family to push the demon out of her. It’s very clever. Pow, analysis. I rock. No More Spoilers Do Not Worry There is clearly a lot to the film. A lot that works. The acting is solid all around. The direction by Wan is fantastic. Everything is suspenseful, every character is worth caring for. The sound editing is SUPERB! The sound designer clearly understood that sometimes silence is what is needed. Yes, there is some stuff that does not work. The music at the beginning of the flick felt waaaay derivative of every other horror score ever. The score gets better around the mid-way point, but it’s slice and dice for awhile. Generally the flick is good about not showing much, but there is a moment in a bedroom where they show too much of a ghoul, lessening the impact of it. I can easily forgive it for those faults, which are not faults, so much as me finding something to nitpick. James Wan made an incredibly, incredibly good horror film; The Conjuring is one of the best in recent years. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The best part of a good horror flick for me personally is the laughter heard in the audience. It isn’t a result of a joke, or finding something funny, but the specific laughter that follows the realization that you just screamed in a crowded theater, which most everyone did in mine. I definitely did. In a manly fashion. Ladies.
Greg dinskisk on Jul 22, 2013
Absolutely loved it, no horror film has ever actually scared me because I know the in and outs of how most of them are based but this film started like I would not have expected, it works based on the primal fears of people and it's so simple but Wan works with that and terrifies you. The way he holds the shot for a few frames longer adds to the suspense and fear and the scariest moment for me in the film was a simple shot of the warrens daughter walking out of her room, dead science and it's a shot of her in the hallway as we are all expecting something and I felt like I was on the edge at that point. Awesome film and an instant classic
Darren Geeter on Jul 22, 2013
I enjoyed the film and felt the same way Alex in that I thought I would be more terrified based on the reviews. The build was great and the acting pretty solid, but why do white people always go into the basement when they hear something?
mooreworthy on Jul 22, 2013
Because that's what white people do. Others run and...live.
bill on Jul 22, 2013
Solid Horror film, I wouldn't have changed a thing. I love how there was no obvious CGI. Didn't scare me like insidious did though, and I would have been a lot more scared if it wasn't for all the clips and trailers I watched (ruined a lot of scares for me) but hey that was my fault. I would totally see it again, and I can't wait for Insidious 2.
TravisH. on Jul 22, 2013
Jumbled thought: The Conjuring. I had chills up and down my back throughout the whole film. That film literally has some of the best pacing for a horror film in recent years, imo. Fuck. That movie is atmospheric. Love, love, love Vera Farmiga in this. Everyone has really solid performances. 2 thumbs and 4/5 rating. Also, I like James Wan’s victorian doll motif. My body is sore from clenching up the whole time… I think Wan has an eye for pacing and what stands out for the strongest example of that is when the exorcism is happening at the end and then there’s the guy looking for the little girl. Wan splits these two events up in a way where, us as the audience, get to take a breather and it’s not just one big massive exorcism scene. Props to Wan. Also, I like some of the steadicam and crane shots. Probably my favorite scene in the film is when the Warrens first go into the basement and it cuts to the cameraman's pov from the 1970s camera style/look. And there's very little CGI in it. All practical effects! So that's always a plus in my book.
BryceH6 on Jul 22, 2013
I loved the movie, even down to the Amytiville reference at the end of the movie...very chilling, this is how the Innkeepers should have been, more scary moments being shown..I just hope Wan doesn't shy away from horror too long while doing the FF movies, he's the best we have right now as far as horror goes.
jah p on Jul 22, 2013
From Annabell and building up to the Conjuring. I wish James Wan did the remake of Amityville Horror. Did not know Annabell was the real deal.
Mike T on Jul 22, 2013
I walked into "The Conjuring" hoping that this film would scare the living daylights out of me. Something that would leave me emotionally spent after the lights come up. "The Conjuring” is the film that does exactly that. Ignore the based on a true story tagline. This film is scary and will scare the crap out of you.
robb1138 on Jul 22, 2013
he ripped off most of the great horror movies, it's not that original yet it still was somewhat entertaining. I am puzzled as to why a blantant rip off can be so good.
Raif Balentine on Jul 30, 2013
Sorry, no commenting is allowed at this time.