Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Conjuring: It All Started with a Dead Baby

Thanks to a contest at Rue Morgue this Wednesday I was able to go to the advance screening of The Conjuring. Now my mom has been visiting me and because no one else was able to come she offered to join me when she learned the film wasn't a "gorefest". We went into it knowing nothing about the people behind the true story and after researching them after the film I'm glad we did. Read on if you are ok with perhaps a couple of smaller spoilers in a film that already had the ending spoiled by being a true story.
Got a free copy of the poster, no biggie.
So the movie definitely started off on a creepy foot for me, an encounter with a demonic doll. I don't know about you, but dolls have always given me the heebie jeebies. The sequence was actually quite effective for providing the demonic exposition that comes into play later in the film. They also had a lovely title sequence that reminded me of The Exorcist, which does make sense given the era it takes place in. But you would have thought the family might have seen The Exorcist and have actually realized what a big indicator it was that their dog refused to go into their house. Speaking of dogs, I feel like dogs are the new "token black guy", whenever there's a dog in a horror movie it seems to die.

Watching the movie I was also curious as to how a family ended up with that many daughters, did they live near a nuclear facility as newlyweds killing the father's ability to pass on Y chromosomes? But it would of course be the dad who decides to open up the boarded up basement. Why would a basement be boarded up? Demons. That damn basement sure did remind me of the "choose your doom" scene in The Cabin in the Woods. They are rather open to their doom though because one of these non-human beings said that it wanted their family dead and they still didn't move, that takes a lot of guts.

According to my mom people actually dressed like that in the 70s.
This movie has also made me realize that demons have become the new ghosts, just when you think a movie will be about ghosts (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, etc.) bam, it's actually demons. This movie has a hard time sticking to it's own rules though because they say that demons never were human, then that the malevolent spirit is that of a witch who hung herself in the yard, so it's not a demon? It was fun however to catch the eldest daughter flirting with the junior demonologist, even though in the real life version she was 12 when it all started. That added to the small bit of comic relief we got at the midpoint as they set up their investigation. Yes, they wanted to lull the audience into a false sense of security.

Which leads us to another trend in the horror genre, demonic possession blood vomit. This is the third film I've seen so far this year to feature it and the second to have it as the cause of possession. Also the one figure of governmental authority wasn't portrayed in the best of light, he even made the mistake of following the hot dead maid. American Horror Story taught us all to NEVER follow the hot dead maid. The ending of the movie was also rather predictable because the Perron family and the Warrens all lived well past the events that took place in the film, so a sappy happy ending did ensue.

Now that I have picked apart the movie I must say that I actually really enjoyed it. The actors did great performances of what were well developed characters and it actually felt like there was a story. The movie did not rely heavily on CGI and actually managed to have me a tense up a bit during some of the scenes. In fact it was the scenes where there were no "monsters" that creeped me out the most, that and the scenes with the doll. One of the better horror movies I've seen, and possibly the best loosely based on a true story, I would definitely recommend seeing this while it is still in theatres. If this helps convince you even my mom who is not a horror movie fan in the slightest thought it was good, we were talking about it the entire way home. Be warned though, those who scream during it are officially bigger chickens than my mom.

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