Tuesday, 25 June 2013

EIFF: The Conjuring

Before you watch The Conjuring, ask yourself one thing – are you ready to be terrified beyond comprehension? If the answer is yes, then we suggest you go ahead and watch… although you might also want to take someone to hide behind. Just a suggestion.

The premise itself isn’t all that unique. A 1970s picturesque family move to a house in the country and start experiencing strange things – we know, so far, so typical horror movie. What makes this particular movie so utterly chilling is some stand out performances, excellent direction, a killer soundtrack, and… well, the scares.

No cheap tricks a la Paranormal Activity for The Conjuring. Based on a true story, the happenings are chilling enough on their own without the usual dropped heavy object or the bird in the fireplace – yes, Woman In Black, we’re looking at you. When the fear comes, and comes in waves spaced perfectly to allow you to almost relax in between, it comes wholeheartedly.

While of course there are some tropes that the film can’t avoid – the angelic looking child with an imaginary friend, the obligatory hair pulled by an invisible force scene, and the attempt to get rid of a possessed object known to move by throwing it in the bin to name a few – there are enough new twists and turns to make it something fresh.

Spanning nearly two hours, the film is a mastery of the slow build to a crescendo which has everything coming to a head in true horror fashion. That being said, the opening scenes are particularly noteworthy in the genre for simply diving into the horror they’re depicting. For all they’ve been used over and over, we’re pretty sure that possessed dolls are pretty much the creepiest thing we’ve ever seen.

The cast, especially given the youth of some of the actresses, do a stellar job of bringing the story to life. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are particularly outstanding as the paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Wilson, giving the movie a much welcomed comic relief at points and true heart at others. Particular gems of Ed’s include ‘Sometimes it’s better to keep the genie in the bottle,’ and our personal favourite, ‘When you get haunted, it’s like stepping on gum.’  What can we say, the man’s not wrong.

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ll be building blanket forts and hiding out among large groups of people until the terror passes.