“The Conjuring” is one gigantic creep fest and I mean this the most positive way.
Directed by James Wan and written by Chris and Chad Hayes (brothers), “The Conjuring” is based on the real life story of the Perron family. In 1971 the Perrons purchased an old, seemingly beautifully house in Rhode Island for their family of five girls and their dog, Sadie. As the family moves into their new home, strange things begin to happen almost immediately. For starters, Sadie refuses to come inside the house, and it’s all downhill from there.
Desperate for answers, Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) goes to a lecture by noted experts on the subject of spirits and demonology, Ed and Lorraine Warren. At the end of the presentation she asks the Warrens for their help. Without giving the rest of the movie away, the Warrens agree to assist and the remainder of the film deals with how they help, what procedures are put in place and the terrifying events that follow.
Part of what makes “The Conjuring” so compelling is that it is based on fact. This alone sets the audience on edge…these events actually happened. Director Wan respects the material and never goes over the top—although plenty of other odd things occur.
In addition to the terrific, understated direction, a real positive for the film is the top-notch acting. Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren is fabulous (frankly, after doing a season of “Bates Motel” and now this movie, I am not sure how she sleeps at night), as is Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren. They both do a great job at keeping it genuine, even when some truly bizarre statements come out of their mouths. Ron Livingston as Roger Perron and the aforementioned Taylor also shine, particularly Taylor who has the meatier role. The actresses who play the Perron children are also very good. Two who especially excel are Joey King (who seems to be popping up everywhere these days) as Christine, and Kyla Deaver, as the youngest daughter, April.
Everything about “The Conjuring” is handled with taste and “realness,” never dipping in to clichéd cheesiness. Truth can be stranger than fiction, and as “The Conjuring” proves, it can also be creepier.
4 nuggets out of 4