I adore horror movies, even though I am desperately afraid of watching them. When I was young, I devoured movies like Poltergeist and the like without feeling the smallest twinge of fear. As an adult though? Total. Chicken. Shit.
To be fair, horror movies aren’t that scary any more. I found Scream to be a total yawnfest. But I heard the buzz about The Conjuring, and I was agog to watch it. Now, no one in my family enjoys horror, much less paying for the experience. So I had to wait till it was released on Netflix.
Story: The Perron family, parents and five daughters (!), move into a huge house in Rhode Island. The family is mostly keen to settle into this big house, with room for them all, except for the eldest. The dog too refuses to enter the house.
From the first night itself, weird stuff begins to happen. Clocks all stop and the family dog is found dead outside. An unseen force is taking control of one of the daughters too. In mounting panic and dread, the family consults with noted demonologists.
Enter: Ed and Lorraine Warren. They set about bringing in the church and trying to figure out what is happening in the house. It is bad, very, very bad.
Review: The movie is insanely frightening, because the family seems so normal. Mother, father, siblings, and dog. Straitened circumstances. Old house that needs fixing up. The scares are legitimately awful.
Story: I read somewhere that there were continuity goofs and so on, but I couldn’t care less. I was gripped with the steadily escalating horror. In the climax, it could really have gone either way. [I know this is a movie, and everything usually turns out well, but they killed the dog! All bets were off.]
Characters: Fantastic characterisation. Fear and terror brings out either the worst or best in people. This movie was an excellent showcase of that.
Acting: Excellent, understated performances.
What I liked: It wasn’t a predictable plot, although the plot isn’t new. The cinematography and editing is tight, and extremely well-executed. There is no spare fat in this movie.
What I disliked: They kill off the dog. 😦