James Wan’s latest film does not waste time scaring you, beginning with a sequence of events revolving around one the most frightening dolls ever seen on film. It serves as an excellent introduction for Ed and Lorraine Warren, without a doubt the most famous and well-respected paranormal investigators we’ve ever known. And with that, the title card rolls up in an Exorcist-remeniscant fashion, with baritone demonic horns blaring, and it’s clear we’re in for a real terrifying ride.
The plot revolves around the true story of the Perrons, who move into their new house only to find that it is completely haunted. Ed and Lorraine Warren(Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are sought out by the parents Carolyn and Roger(Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) to come help determine what to do about the activity in their house. From there, it only gets creepier.
The thing that sets James Wan apart from most other horror filmmakers is that he understands the necessity to set up your characters and provide audience investment for them in order for the scares to work. He also understands how to create suspension before any jump scare, but not in a way that is expected or could come off as cheesy. All these things are on display here in the film, to absolutely horrifying results. When the credits started rolling, you could hear and feel the entire audience let out a collective sigh/chuckle that this horrifying film had finally released them from it’s grip.
While Wan still has Insidious 2 coming out in September, he has expressed interest in “graduating” from the horror genre, and appears to be doing that by directing the 7th Fast and Furious film. And while I am excited to see how he does with that, I can’t help but think the horror genre will be at a loss with his graduation.
The Conjuring is without a doubt one of the best and most terrifying horror films in recent years, and dare I say, an instant classic among the genre.