Review: The Conjuring (2013, James Wan)

the-conjuring-2013-01RATING: 8/10

Director: James Wan
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Shannon Kook & John Brotherton
Screenplay: Chad Hayes & Carey Hayes

In movie terms, what I felt about Vera Farmiga in James Wan’s “The Conjuring” is how I felt when I first saw 2001’s “The Others” starring Nicole Kidman. For me, that is high snaps for any actress in a horror movie. Though Farmiga’s lead performance really only comes out around 1/4 into the movie, her notable presence and wonderful acting (with the ensemble cast, of course) made “The Conjuring” a fantastic watch, and can join the lines of top notch actresses not only like Kidman in “The Others” but also Ellen Burstyn in “The Exorcist” (1973). The powerhouse performance, combined with James Wan’s truly terrifying (in a good way)  vision for horror films made the movie somewhat of an instant classic, that I feel will be remembered for quite some time.

Based on a true story of paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Farmiga) who face their greatest and most terrifying case to date. Set in 1971, the married couple investigates the haunted home of the Perron family, expecting nothing more then what they have handled before, but ultimately experiencing something grave and dangerous not only for the Perron’s, but for them as well.

Wilson has come a long way from his days singing Broadway tunes (he played Raul in 2004’s “The Phantom of the Opera”) and has evolved into a good serious actor—and for real this time too–nothing like he did in 2006’s “Little Children” which wasn’t as good as he probably thought he was. He has finally proven he can carry a motion picture on his shoulder’s on soul acting alone. He gets most of his help from powerhouse Farmiga and the very interesting performance of Lili Taylor, playing the mother of the Perron family.

Farmiga was haunting and remains in my mind as I write this review. If I called the shots, Farmiga would have a fare chance to at least a campaign for a leading performance nomination for Best Actress. For me, she was better then half of the nominees last year and stands in a strong area in my current lineup. Taylor is no different, with an entertaining, heartbreaking and also very terrifying performance. She controls the screen with what she’s got and turned out to be a major highlight in the film.

James Wan has always been masterful in scaring the audience out of their wits. His collaboration with Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes has produced brilliant work. His direction was perfect for this time of film. He helmed the ensemble and imagery to really freak the audience out. The screenplay is horror perfection, with the right amount of scares and plot, that the film became fast paced and easy to watch. But don’t get me wrong, easy in terms of story but not in terms of shaking me out of my boots. I kept close to those I watched with because “The Conjuring” is surely, undoubtedly one of the scariest movies of all time. And it’s not one of those bad horror movies too – it’s classily done.

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