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By James Whittington, Sunday 12th January 2014
The Conjuring – Blu-ray Review
Warner Home Video
Extras: The Conjuring: Face To Face With Terror, A Life In Demonology, Scaring the “@$*%” Out Of You featurettes.
Of all the horror movies to hit the big screen in 2013 one really did deliver on all levels. James Wan’s The Conjuring is a smart, inventive and traditional feeling horror movie that relied not on blood and guts to shock audiences, but smart editing and a sinister soundscape.
Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. Based on a true story, The Conjuring tells the horrifying tale of how renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were called upon to help a family terrorised by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.
With strong acting and a constant atmosphere of dread, The Conjuring stands up to repeated viewings. Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren gives a deep performance of a man trying to protect his fragile, exhausted wife Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) from investigating another tiring haunting. But when they both realise how much “evil” is in the house you understand why he allows her to try and save the family. Wilson is given more to do than in Insidious, thanks to a strong script whilst Farmiga continues to illustrate why she’s one of the strongest performers around at the moment. The tone and pace are pitched perfectly as the film introduces the main characters with care. But the real star here is the sound mix which is, in a word, superb. It reminded me of the classic shocker, The Legend Of Hell House, another film that utilised sound to creep out its audience instead of blood and guts.
Director Wan knows how to construct entertaining horror movies but he really raises the bar here with plenty of memorable set-pieces and attention to creepy detail such as the room where the Warren’s keep their possessed artefacts. There are countless spin-off movies you could create here with these pieces and probably some marketing or studio manager is already thinking of this.
So to quickly sum up, The Conjuring is a truly great horror, shot with a deliberate feel and affection for the classic shockers from the early 70s.
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