The Conjuring Fails. Hard.
It’s perhaps the most anticipated horror movie of year, certainly of the summer; but for all the cleverly edited trailers, the fantastic make up jobs, and the promise of being based on a true story, The Conjuring is nothing more than child’s play and even that description is an insult to the memory of Chucky. No serious fan of the horror genre can take this movie seriously.
The Conjuring chronicles the supernatural experiences of the Perron family, a family of seven who move into a dilapidated farmhouse in Rhode Island, only to find it haunted by the malevolent spirit of a witch. This witch is particularly fond of infanticide and spares no effort to get the children dead. Beyond that minor detail, the plot is your typical sob story: witch is found, witch is killed, witch leaves ancient curse on the land and all who inhabit it. I can’t help but feel like we’ve read this script before, even Scooby Doo and The Witch’s Ghost has presented that very narrative – and that is child’s play. Perhaps predictably, the movie offers us a menu of a few strange noises, accompanied by white people following strange sounds where they ought not to, some clocks around the house curiously stop at the same time each morning, and the poor family pet goes dead. Beyond that, the movie takes a truly frighteningly long time to get going, and only at ninety-one (91) minutes in, can watchers expect any serious thrill; mind you, the entire sordid affair lasts for one hundred and seven (107) minutes. It’s simply not worth it.
When you get right down to it, “The Conjuring” is a breathtakingly lazy attempt at a scary movie. It relies heavily on your desire to be scared, and then seeks to manipulate it by throwing together a few anxious moments where apparitions appear suddenly and then vanish. By doing this, it gives the illusion of going somewhere. Your desire to be scared is stroked, and then ultimately cruelly deflated. I suppose the one great accomplishment of this film is the marketing it received. The trailers habitually left the impression that this one was somehow different from every other possession narrative we’ve ever been told. By attaching the “based on a true story” tagline, and I’m not saying it isn’t, the movie invites us to question whether our own lands and homes could be haunted by the goodly “witch of Christmas past”, but once common sense kicks in, we are left scoffing at the truly poor attempt at convincing us, indeed frightening us.
This film is quite frankly a glorified Amityville Horror, I recommend you see this movie and do a comparison; you’ll be left wondering whether the events might not have happened in the same house. After all, the Defeo boy claims he was told to kill his family, after spending time alone down in the basement. The Conjuring fails because it attempts to be all things to all people; it made an attempt to be jack of all trades, and ended up mastering none. We got possession, we got exorcism, and we got a witch – but even that recipe could not make for a good film. It just comes across as a bitched up version of The Exorcist, piggybacking on our desire to be scared. In this economy, at these prices, The Conjuring isn’t worth its weight in popcorn. I recommend you wait for the television debut: 4/10.