Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Obstruction 3 - The Conjuring (2013) A Jigsaw Review

Over at www.myfilmviews.com, a new event has begun, titled the 5 Obstructions Blogathon. Each month a challenge is set which is designed to test writers in ways they may not have encountered before. In June, I completed obstruction 1 by writing a negative review for a film I love; 'Avengers Assemble'. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to complete Obstruction 2 but I'm back this month, ready to have a go at Obstruction 3.

Today I'm going to review James Wan's latest horror 'The Conjuring', but by only using words originally written in other blog reviews.  It's going to be tough but then that's the whole point! To read more about the blogathon, click here and to find the original reviews which I sourced from, scroll to the bottom of this post after the jump.

The Conjuring is based on the allegedly true story of a 1971 haunting that occurred in the Rhode Island home of the Perron family. The illusion of the perfect new spacious family home is shattered when the young girls start seeing and interacting with spirits. (Note to self: If I ever move into an old house and find a room or closet boarded up, LEAVE IT ALONE!)

Things start getting freaky as clocks stop moving, apparitions keep appearing and a collection of chilling events lead them to enlist the help of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), two paranormal investigators. Hesitant to draw his wife into another investigation after a recent exorcism affected her deeply, Ed agrees to help the family and begins his exploration of the house's spirits and history. The ordeal ends up becoming the most terrifying case the Warrens have ever worked on.

The Conjuring, the latest from Saw and Insidious director James Wan, is a throwback in many ways, presenting a classic ghost story set in the early 1970s. The Conjuring is said to be based on real-life ghost hunters and self-proclaimed demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, more famously known for being some of the first investigators to look into the Amityville Haunting.

The actors all do an excellent job; Patrick Wilson and Vera Famirga steal the show as Ed and Lorraine Warren. Lili Taylor comes off well, finally doing the haunted house movie she deserves to do after being in the awful mess that was The Haunting remake. Nothing feels cliched or overly dramatic about their performances.

The film is rated R, but contains no nudity and barely any blood - which is kind of a nice change of pace for horror films as of late. The Conjuring didn't cause me to evacuate my colon out of fear but there are so many effective visuals that really stick with you. 

Director James Wan is very quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the horror realm. From the camera movement to the sound design, the technical aspects of this movie are top-notch. The sparing use of CGI was a wise choice in my opinion and the little that was used was forgivable as Wan did not rely soley on its use in order to scare the audience. 

An exorcism scene in the film is made all the more terrifying by covering the possessed individual with a bed sheet, proving that things can be scarier when left to the imagination. 

The film also has some great steady-cam shots, making the audience very familiar with the house itself, giving it its own identity and making it as much a player as the human cast. The period dress and atmosphere were effective in transporting me back to the 1970s setting, which is perfectly captured and maintained through some ace hairstyles and few knowing lines in the script.

Still, one wishes that there had been some inventiveness in the film beyond the references to films past, but it does twist these references in fun ways for the most part. The final portion of the film felt a bit rushed to me; I found myself rolling my eyes a bit in the third act, which gets a bit silly with Vera Farmiga and Lili Taylor's character talking about a fun day at the beach their family once had. While it does come back into play later in the film, it's still pretty goofy and oddly out of place; The question at the very heart of the movie, whether to continue to help one family at the expense of another, is never even discussed.

It's been a long time since I have sat through a horror movie at a theater where the entire audience was silent as they held their collective breaths. There are some very great moments to be found in the early goings and by the time it's over, you're just cowering in your seat gasping for breath.

The movie begins and ends with assertions that this is based on a true story, the treasure trove that is Ed and Lorraine Warren. Here's hoping that another one of the cases they investigated that isn't well-known makes it to the screen also.

James Wan's The Conjuring is a refreshingly different horror film that doesn't necessarily reinvent the wheel, but manages to create serious tension and some genuine scares without resorting to blood and gore...and it made me really want to see a Dead Silence 2, hint hint nudge nudge.

Thanks for reading my 'jigsaw' review of The Conjuring and remember to click here to find out more about the Three Obstructions blogathon. Let me know what you thought of this review by sharing, commenting and liking below after the reference list. 

The Blog Flume - http://shanemcgraw.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/movie-review-conjuring.html


  1. Thanks for joining in, have given you the gold checkmark.

    1. Cheers Nostra. Looking forward to the next Obstruction.