For a good long while slasher films dominated the horror movie scene. Hollywood believed the way to scare you was to throw blood and guts at you and show you graphically over-the-top killings to get under your skin. And that formula worked for a while. The success of the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday The 13th series were a testament to that.
For me though, things started to change in 2002 when the film The Ring, a remake of the Japanese film Ringu, came out in the United States. There were several things it did well, excellent use of sound and music, as well disturbing visuals that didn’t require blood and gore. It also took the time not to rush the frights, but build them slowly with suspense and did possibly the scariest thing you can do, played with your mental. That is what I loved about The Conjuring. It was a very well paced, well acted film. It took its time with the scary moments. It built them with sound and music, much like another film I enjoyed, Insidious, did very well.
The Conjuring stars Patrick Wilson (Insidious and Watchmen) as Ed Warren and Vera Farmiga (Running Scared and The Departed) as his wife, Lorraine Warren. They are renowned ghost hunters/paranormal investigators. They encounter the Perron family, led by Carolyn ( played by Lili Taylor from Six Feet Under and The Haunting), Roger Perron, and Ron Livingston (Office Space and tv show Sex In The City). The Perron family has moved into a new home and shortly after their arrival they begin to experience supernatural situations that are beyond their explanation.
The film uses the hook “Based on a True Story” to lure fans to the film, and to give an air of legitimacy to the story. It also serves to instill a bit of fear in the moviegoer as well. Of course there are some who will immediately question and be skeptical of such ghost stories, hauntings, and possessions. For me, these days, movies like this are really the only ones that get to me any more. Hauntings and possessions bother me because, I don’t know yet to believe in them or not, so, I don’t know. The unknown can be a frightening place. Movie monsters like Freddy and Jason never bothered me, but spirits and demons sure do.
If you like suspenseful movies that use sound, music, and visuals well, this is a good one to see. I feel like we are entering a new Golden Age for horror movies. They are taking on a different tone and approach and its working very well. For a movie that had a very small budget, they pull off wonderful things by taking simple and conventional approaches and using props and physical things to induce fear and fright with a good story. Whether its true or not, it will leave an impression with you.