Ed and Lorraine Warren are renowned for their work in the field of the paranormal, whether you think they’re legitimate or not. If you didn’t previously know that, this movie will help clue you in on it for sure. I’ve come to understand that a lot of horror fans, even those of the ghost sub-genre, don’t necessarily think all that much about the supernatural realistically. That’s okay, this film carries itself beautifully even if you don’t care about nor believe in things like ghosts and demons. The truth is, though, that it can certainly assist you in enjoying a film like this if you do. But I digress, your beliefs won’t come in to play much here, it’s about spirits and demons and should be taken as a cinematic experience and not one of the paranormal kind.
To me, what’s great about this movie, is that it isn’t quite as typical as others we’ve been forced to get used to. Most films follow guidelines in some fashion, horror is certainly no exception. I’m still undecided if it’s because it works, they think it works or we’ve, as human beings, come to expect certain things from the stories we attach ourselves to and let in to that special place in our hearts. I expected more jump scares than legitimate ones, it seems to be what most ghost films shoot for now. It wasn’t as jump-scare laden as I expected it to be I’m happy to report! Where I expected an ego-stroking fest for the Warrens, it turned out to focus on the story of the Perron family more than anything else, beautifully intertwined with Ed, Lorraine, demons and ghouls, as it should be.
From the very beginning, we’re introduced to the Warrens. We aren’t taken on a journey of their entire history nor are we preached to about believing in their cause. Simply put, we’re introduced to them and a rather small room jam-packed with artifacts from their past (surely to show us they weren’t new to the game) so we can understand that they are professionals at what they do. At no point, to me, did it feel as though I had to look them up on the internet (though I was already very familiar with their history) to accept them as ghost busters yet I wasn’t tired of hearing about them.
The Perron family, and their TRUE story, actually hit a soft-spot in me. In most ghost films, I find myself wishing it felt more realistic and didn’t go over the top yet that the menacing ‘spooks’ would actually feel menacing. In The Conjuring, it was more of a documented terror where you can’t help but feel sadness for the people involved, at least I did. I felt really bad for them as opposed to the usual rooting for the bad-guy just to see what they’d do next. The Perron family were truly mortified of their own home and being abused by an unknown spirit for reasons unknown.
As the film develops, we do find out what appears to be causing the activity. The mother, as she did in actuality, decided to dig into the past of the house and figure out who could be the problem and why. The things she and the Warrens came up with were truly shocking, although not necessarily true to the actual history (as noted on the disc’s extras). Where a bit of fabrication lies for suspense’s sake, I do think it fairly assisted in the story being quite scary. I fell asleep shortly after watching the film and all the extras and dreamt of spooky things all night, lots of fun!
A member of the family actually said herself that the movie was based on a true story, believe it or not, and that the outcome was with low-fabrication and was a depiction of the events that occurred that did their haunting past justice. The mother also went on to say in an interview on the Blu-ray that she’d never watch the film nor return to the house for any reason.
As for the visual, they are top-notch. It’d be unfair to get anything less from a film made in 2013 wouldn’t it? The colors are rich yet a bit washed out to set the mood back to the early 1970’s, they’re very well done so as to not detract from the film date nor forget the original time of occurrence. The audio is just the same, very dynamic and involving.
My biggest problem of all is the lack of extras. There are only 3 and they’re all short. Don’t get me wrong, they’re interesting and fun to watch through but they lack a lot of depth that could’ve easily been added considering they interview Lorraine Warren as well as the entire Perron family. How films like The Heat get over two hours (I’m happy about that, yes) and this true story with what seems like endless amounts of information readily available gets less than an hour, I just don’t get it. Someone really dropped the ball there and most likely cut a lot of interesting footage out. Films like these don’t usually get a second release during a single generation. I’d absolutely buy it again for extras alone. So here’s to hoping that it makes it out on the next generation’s format with tons more extras!
All in all, regardless of your feelings about things that go bump in the night, this is a stellar film. As always, it’s only my opinion, but I feel good in saying that most will thoroughly enjoy their viewing(s) of The Conjuring. It’s an actual scary ghost story founded on actual facts by people who had to live it. Try to put yourself in their shoes, as I always suggest in ANY horror film, and see how you come out feeling. If you’re anything like me, you want more. The end certainly leaves room for a return of the Warrens to give us more of what I’d love to have!