Like Marvel Studios, Blumhouse Productions seems almost incapable of making a box office bomb. Between the Paranormal Activity, Insidious and Purge franchises and stand-alone films like Sinister, Oculus and The Conjuring, the company has consistently shown why they are the only real name in horror these days. They’ve even managed to turn Annabelle – a Chucky rip-off introduced in The Conjuring – into the most anticipated horror movie of the fall. Even though the trailer looks terrible, the director’s most notable accomplishment was helming the Mortal Kombat sequel and the writer’s nascent career has been devoted to dreck like Blood Monkey, its narrative connection to The Conjuring is at least enough to warrant watching it with an open mind.
Although a bit of a fixer-upper, the Perron family couldn’t be happier with their new country home. But when a malevolent supernatural entity begins terrorizing them each night, they turn to renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. Now it is up to the Warrens to cleanse the spirits tormenting the Perrons before it claims not just their lives, but their very souls as well.
The reason why The Conjuring is as frightening as it is has nothing to do with its ability to actually scare us. We don’t love the film because of Bathsheba’s midnight antics nor because of her victims’ phantasmal warnings, but because of the film’s human characters. Understanding that a greater investment in the Perrons’ lives causes us to assume a greater stake in their ultimate fate, The Conjuring slowly introduce the family through pizza dinners and games of hide-and-clap. Only after a quarter of the movie is over do the Perrons experience their first definitively supernatural event and only after half of its runtime has elapsed do the Warrens even begin their investigation. By then, we are not just sympathetic observers to the troubles of strangers, but coconspirators in their survival. Continue Reading »