Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston
Director: James Wan
Soundtrack: Joseph Bishara, Mark Crozer
Horror stories are meant to be scary but when you know it's an incident that took place, the fear factor increases manifold. Based on supernatural investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren's accounts, The Conjuring tells the story of a family terrorised by an evil presence in their new house.
The Perrons move into a run-down farmhouse in the countryside of Harrisville in Rhode Island, and soon the mother Carolyn and five daughters start witnessing dark paranormal activity in the house, and like all others, this one too starts from the attic. All the clocks of the house mysteriously stop at 3.07am, the girls either start seeing or feeling a ghostly presence in the house, while the mother starts discovering inexplicable bruises on her body every morning.
They start feeling the chilling presence and soon become victims of its violence. When it becomes unbearable, they decide to approach the Warrens, Ed the demonologist and Lorraine the clairvoyant.
The Conjuring has been directed by Malaysian filmmaker James Wan of the infamous Saw fame but thankfully this film is not one of the grotesque slasher films like Saw and its sequels were. The graphic scenes do exist but they are minimal and don't feature till the end of the film.
While the direction is one of its stronger points, the film is effective primarily due to its sudden sound transitions combined with the A-tonal music, kudos to Joseph Bishara and Mark Crozer for that. Other than that, the film feeds on the audience's fear of the unknown. It is at these carefully crafted moments that the viewers either clench their companion's palms, utter involuntary sighs and swishes or break into nervous laughter.
The other notable thing about the film is the two lead actresses Vera Farmiga (Lorraine Warren) and Lili Taylor's (Carolyn Perron) performances. While one is re-assuring in her calm presence, the other ranges from scared, panicked to sheer delirious.
With a relatively lesser-known cast and a low budget like this, it's a surprise the film is a Warner Bros production.
There are of course, ghosts of the past from films like Paranormal Activity, Child's Play and The Exorcist but they don't take away from the film. The end, though predictable, is impactful nevertheless and seems to go on forever, leaving you rather exhausted by the end.
Verdict: Go for the film, if you like an occasional dose of chilling thrills but if you're one of those who tends to dwell on the scenes even after the film is over, you may want to stay away from this one.
Fun fact: Not many know that the evil witch in the film has been played by one of the music composers!