I don't tend to like horror movies that claim to be based on a true story, as they tend to be so liberal with the truth. I find this to be especially true with ghost movies (or other movies involving spirits), as the true story tends to be centered around an investigation, while the movie tends to be centered around the haunting. That being said, when I attempted to watch this movie a few years ago, I turned it off at the sight of the first spirit, out of frustration. Some friends, however, have recommended that I give it another chance, so I went in trying to ignore the true story element.
After I was able to ignore my frustration with the film, I found that it was actually quite an interesting story. The characters are well-developed in the film, allowing the audience to fully sympathize with the protagonists. Despite a rather formulaic plot, the film manages to maintain interest through placement of scares. I am not usually affected easily by jump scares, as I can predict them easily, and while there were many that I predicted, some were very effectively placed to maximize scares. There are some plot holes, however they seem purposeful as to allow sequels and prequels to reveal the details.
The film as a whole is actually really well-made. Wan did a very good job of creating a truly creepy atmosphere. While some of the cinematography is a bit amateurish in parts, there is a brilliant shot following each one. The score is also extremely creepy and atmospheric, with the exception of a few parts that are a bit overdramatic.
Horror movies are notorious for bad acting, and that is not the case in this film. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are both very good protagonists and do a good job of expressing emotion. Ron Livingston is also good in his supporting role, believable in his concern for his family. The child actors are also surprisingly good, expressing realistic fear at the events of the film.
So overall, after I got past my somewhat irrational pet peeve, "The Conjuring" is actually a really good horror film. I bought in on sale and plan to add it to my yearly horror movie marathon and I hope to see the sequel soon. Check it out if you can.
Big Tuna's Rating: A-
How Did I Watch It?: Digital that I own.
Had I Seen It Before?: No, only the beginning.
Would I Watch It Again?: Yes.
My new reviews are being posted on POPAXIOM (popaxiom.com)!
I look at films as if through old red and blue 3D glasses— one lens is as art, one lens is as entertainment.
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