It should come as no surprise to anyone that I’m a huge fan of horror movies. I grew up watching the old Creature Feature movies and Hammer films. Although I’m not a big proponent of “slasher” films, seeing the original Halloween at the Granada Theater in Malden when I was 15 sticks with me as one of the scariest movie theater viewings I can remember. I finally caught up with a movie I’ve wanted to see for a while, The Conjuring.
The movie is based on the true story of a Connecticut house possessed by a demonic presence. The Perron family, Roger, Carolyn and their five children, are terrorized by supernatural occurrences that escalate to the point of being physically harmful. While the movie does have some jump-at-you cheap scares, they are really not needed. The atmosphere created when the Perrons move into the old farmhouse is dripping with a sense of wrongness. I wouldn’t say this is one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen, but it was very tense throughout and certainly had its share of terrifying moments.
The unusual events begin immediately after the Perrons move in. At first, the incidents are minor: doors slamming and the basic “things going bump in the night.” Then they discover a walled-off door that leads to an old basement, one of the daughters finds a creepy old music box toy, and their dog (which was afraid to enter the house at all) is found dead. While the mood continues to build into a real sense of dread, the Perrons find themselves in a bad situation.
Carolyn is waking up with sever bruises on her body that she can’t explain, and one of the daughters begins to see the evil presence. Ed and Lorraine Warren, renowned paranormal investigators (remember The Amityville Horror?) are called in to investigate. Lorraine identifies the presence to be the spirit of a witch named Bathsheba who wants to possess Carolyn and force her to kill the children. No spoilers here, but I would recommend this movie to fans of good, creepy movies. There is no gratuitous violence, just an increasing intensity that will make you think twice the next time you hear a weird noise. Or have to go into the basement.
An interesting tangent is that I saw Ed and Lorraine Warren speak when I was a teenager, more to come on that next time.