The Conjuring: Review from a Movie Novice

Shaun wrote a few days ago how “The Conjuring” would decide whether he saw horror movies anymore. Well with the insistence of my wife and that motivation to see something Shaun hadn’t I went to see “The Conjuring” last weekend.

The Conjuring revolves around the “true” story of Ed and Lorraine Warren are summoned to help a family haunted by multiple dark spirits. They spend their lives giving seminars to educate people about the paranormal and demonic, make house calls to determine whether a house is truly haunted, and generally educate the uninformed about the existence of evil spirits.

For me, the movie followed the simple formulaic path.
1. Innocent, loving family moves into house and notices something a little weird the first night.
2. They deny anything is wrong, and the youngest of the family is the first to see the evil presence personified
3. After their initial skepticism, the parents finally see real evidence and contact a spirit medium to rid the house of evil.
4. Someone gets possessed, and then it’s a fight for their soul as the demon attempts to kill everyone.
5a. Everyone dies.
5b. Everyone lives.
Sadly, I think I just gave the basic outline to quite a few movies, including The Exorcist, Paranormal Activity, Amityville Horror and others. Which is one of the main reasons I’ve never been able to properly get into this genre.

OK, to be fair this is kinda scary the more you look at it.
OK, to be fair this is kinda scary the more you look at it.

Another reason I can’t fully appreciate “The Conjuring” is my skepticism. After the film was over and the credits had run, a college age man in front of me asked, did that scare the s*** out of you? To which my wife replied yes and I replied no. He then asked me if I ever have believed in this stuff and I said no, that I thought there would be more evidence if it was true. So many times the movies try to scare people more by playing the “based on a true story” or “footage recently uncovered” angle, and for me it ends up falling flat on its face. When I see a movie that is advertised as fiction, I want to suspend my disbelief and just enjoy the story for what it is.

Alone as a movie, the Conjuring does a wonderful job of helping you get to know and care for the characters. The haunted family is lovable and the paranormal investigators are completely believable in their roles. The story progresses quickly and fluidly with no real hiccups in plot, and the special effects are well done, but it’s just not that scary. Sure there are a few moments where stuff jumps out at you or you see some ghost in the corner that wasn’t there a second before, but to me it was fairly predictable when that was coming.  So if you want an entertaining show with good characters and a formulaic plot, this is a great movie to see, if you’re wanting to be scared to death or surprised…then this isn’t it.

A fairly solid movie, but nothing extremely special. I’d give it 3 screams out of 5.

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