I don't even know what happened last week. This was my thought process last Tuesday: 'I've not done anything this week, I don't have anything to review today. I'm going to see The Conjuring tomorrow though, I'll just post tomorrow!' That obviously didn't come to fruition though.
So, last Wednesday I went to see The Conjuring. I'm not going to lie, I saw the trailers when I saw Evil Dead all those months ago and since then I've wanted to see it but have also cowered at the mere mention of it. I'm THE jumpiest person in the world, and I actually scare pretty easily when it comes to ghost films/TV shows. Anyway, the poster is kind of creepy but doesn't give away that much about the film, but oh, dear lord I just noticed the shadow of the person underneath the noose, *shudder*. Anyway, if you haven't seen them, there are a couple of trailers, but this is the 'official main trailer';
I still jump at the trailer. So, The Conjuring is directed by James Wan (Director of Saw and Insidious) and came out in UK cinemas on the 2nd of August. Before that, it was shown at the Edinburg film festival in June. (Its first showing was at 'Nocturna' - Madrid International Fantastic Film Festival on the 8th of June) It hasn't been released in cinemas everywhere yet, so if you're in one of the countries where this is the case, check here for your release date.
As far as horror films go, this is a pretty good one. The build up is great; as the audience we know that paranormal things are occurring, but they're not big enough instances that the family immediately jump to the conclusion that their house isn't entirely theirs. In the beginning, there are tiny things like clocks stopping, bad smells and cold rooms. These occurrences build up through a child sleep-walking in strange ways, games being joined by disembodied hands and something playing the old piano in the basement.
I wanted to include this trailer because although it starts off being all cute, it makes my blood run a little bit cold each time. It takes 25 seconds to actually start, so you might just want to skip a little bit:
This game looks really fun, but since this film, I don't want to blindfold myself or clap, so I guess it's out of the question. Anyway. Something else which I particularly thought was good about this film, was that aside from meeting the family who are experiencing the phenomena, we're introduced to the paranormal investigators - Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, respectively) so that we kind of empathise with them, and not just the Perrons. (Lili Taylor played Mrs Carolyn Perron, while Ron Livingston played her husband, Roger Perron)
In addition to this, some of Ed and Lorraine Warren's investigations were shown being carried out, in which they show a family that their 'supernatural' occurrences are merely creaky floorboards echoing through the pipes, and they state that most paranormal investigation turn out to be similarly simple to explain logically. I felt like this was something that really set this film apart from other horror films with this type of storyline, because so often, the screenwriters/directors/producers want to get going with the haunting so soon that we end up with a whole cast full of people ready to believe they are being haunted by something terrible because they hear a few noises or a door opens slightly.
Something else I have to mention is how much I thought of the acting. Now, I am quite a fan of Vera Farmiga anyway after watching her in The Orphan, but I have to really hand it to the child actors in this - I usually really hate kids in films but I genuinely liked all of these kids, especially the youngest, April who was super cute, but also really believable and a great character, she was played by Kyla Deaver. The other girls were Andrea, (Shanley Caswell) Nancy, (Hayley McFarland) Christine, (Joey King) and Cindy (Mackenzie Foy).
I don't necessarily have any negative things to say about this film; normally I'd comment on how seeing the 'monster' ruins the effect a little bit, but honestly, this thing is pretty much as hideous and creepy looking as the hell it crawled out of. I liked the back story of why the place is haunted, and the explanations of different types of hauntings and spirits, etc.
As much as I enjoyed this film and don't really have any negatives, other than I watched most of the film from behind my fingers - (which I can't entirely blame on them, but it wasn't entirely something I could control either) I don't think I can actually give this the full five pandas. It's not something I can put my finger on and say 'this is why I'm taking away a panda', I just don't have the same kind of excitement about this as I have for other films, so purely based on that, I want to give this four pandas.
This film may not be scary to everyone, but it's certainly not for the faint-hearted!
I'll be back on Friday with part (your guess is as good as mine) of Seasons. (Is it five? It feels like five.) Until then, have a really great week!
Lots of love! Laura