Movie Review: The Conjuring (Confirmed: Great and a 1/2)

Could The Conjuring be the next horror classic?

     Critically acclaimed horror films are rare in the era of Hollywood cash grabs in which we live.  Far too often filmmakers today think that something grotesque, found footage, or an often used franchise are substitutes for the classic horror films of yesteryear that cinephiles yearn for.  Too many times, fans of the horror genre are disappointed by films that promise to be the next horror classic only to be let down with a trope filled gore fest.   With the exception of last year’s Cabin in the Wood’s which turned the genre on its head rather than perfecting it, it’s been a long time since the last truly great pure horror film.  So when a horror film receives great word of  mouth like James Wan’s The Conjuring has gotten, film fans can’t help but be skeptical.  Did James Wan conjure up the next horror classic? Find out after the break…….

The Conjuring is horror execution at it's finest!

     While The Conjuring might not be in line with classics like The Shining or The Exorcist, it is the purest, most well done horror film in a long time.  Nothing in The Conjuring feels ground breaking or even particularly innovative, but the film nails basic horror film execution to perfection.  Every beat of the film hits perfectly which provides strong pacing that results in plenty of scares, but never tries to overwhelm you.  Instead, the film builds each and every scare, making the payoff all the more satisfying.
Patrick Wilson continues to "conjure" up good performances!

     Even more impressive is the film's character development and choice of characters.  While I realize this was supposedly based on a true story, you have to admire the Hayes brothers' choice to fine tune the source material rather than reinventing it when writing the script.  It was refreshing to see a horror film revolve around a growing and loving family rather than a group of idiotic college kids.  The dual development of the Perron family along with the Warrens make the stakes this film raises all the better as they come to an eventual head.  Not only are these characters developed at a script level, but there isn't a glaring weakness in this cast, either.  As good as the entire cast was, Patrick Wilson’s performance as Ed Warren really stood out; as he continues to be one of the most under rated actors in the business, we've yet to see him give a poor performance despite the many diverse roles he has taken on.

Future horror films could learn a thing or three from The Conjuring!

     Overall, The Conjuring provided audiences with an intimate and well rounded horror film that really set itself apart in a summer filled with superheroes and giant robots.  Hopefully the acclaim this film has garnered will serve as a warning to future horror directors to choose good story telling over utter gore and shock because, as The Conjuring proves, you don’t have to abandon classic horror devices and attempt to do something over the top to make a good horror film. Sometimes you just have get the old bag of tricks exactly right!

Confirmed: Great and a 1/2


  1. It gets pretty crazy at times and that was fun enough. Nice review Bradley.


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