wed 20/06/2018

DVD: The Conjuring | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Conjuring

DVD: The Conjuring

The latest from Saw's James Wan overplays a promising hand

What a doll

Since it’s Christmas time and everyone’s in office party mode, here’s the pub chat verdict on The Conjuring: “It’s that bloke who did Saw, starts off a bit naff, then gets quite scary for a bit, but blows it in the end. You getting them in? Mine’s a pint of Cobra. What? No, they always boil all the alcohol out of mulled wine in pubs, but I’ll have a port, if you’re buying. Yeah, there are a couple of bits that make you jump, like when this zombie-witch thing leaps off a wardrobe but it’s not as scary as the trailer made it look. Cheers! No, I’ll sip the port, not down it in one, thanks.”

Otherwise: The Conjuring is set in 1971 and is based on one of the cases investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren, a married couple who made a name for themselves as paranormal investigators. Peripherally involved in the events that eventually became the basis for The Amityville Horror franchise, one of their cases was also loosely adapted to become 2009’s The Haunting in Connecticut. Director James Wan took what his publicity claimed was the Warrens' most terrifying case and repeated the success he had at the box office with Saw and Insidious.

The film opens with the Warrens – efficiently played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga - dealing with a case involving the sinister puppet on the DVD cover, although this turns out not to have a central role in the main plot. Then it moves on to Carolyn and Roger Peron and their five daughters who move into a rickety old house in rural Rhode Island. Unpleasant, uncanny things start to happen – of course – delivering the film’s most effective chills, the best of which involve a children’s game called “hide and clap”. The result is series of well-executed, uncanny kicks and it seems for a while that we’re in for a truly unnerving ride as the family try to cope with demonic poltergeist happenings. Once the Warrens become involved however, Wan’s thus far successful less-is-more fear delivery system goes into unnecessary overdrive and the film starts laying things on too thick.

The Conjuring then develops into an everything-but-the-kitchen sink fusion of The Exorcist, Amityville and, due to impeccably rendered period detail, The Shining. From a nasty little shocker, it overplays its hand and all possible twists and turns are lost in a sea of admittedly impressive effects.

A mini-documentary about director James Wan comes as a DVD extra.

Overleaf: trailer for The Conjuring

Wan’s successful less-is-more fear delivery system goes into unnecessary overdrive and starts laying things on too thick


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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Good review Thomas. While I definitely wouldn't rank it among my "scariest experiences ever", it was still a fun kind of horror movie that continued to rack-up the tension no matter what.

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