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Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Conjuring (2013) - Review

Have you ever been woken up by a dream that scared the living heck out of you?  You know, one of those dreams that no matter how old you are or how illogical it was, still scared you enough to prevent you from leaving the safe confines of your bed?  This film treads in that territory.  It sneaks past the adult defenses you gathered through the years and goes straight for those fears you thought you left behind with your youth.

Wether it is a doll that is not in the same position it was last time you saw it, a noise coming from what you thought was an empty room or a door that seems to shut on its own - an adult should be able to easily dismiss such things.  It is not that easy.  For some reason these things resurface the scared little kid inside all of us.  Director, James Wan, does not invent many new scares, he embraces old scare techniques and craftily uses them to do what they have done in the past, scare you.

The story is classic haunted horror tale - a family moves into a new house are realizes they may not be alone.  After a series of unexplained events they bring in paranormal experts to help determine just what is going on.  Thankfully, it avoids a major storytelling pitfall of so many recent films by forgoing CGI effects.  Sometimes a whisper in a dark room is much more effective than all the CGI in the world - this film proves that.

The film also benefits its surprisingly strong cast consisting of Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, Lilly Taylor and Patrick Wilson.  Honestly, off the top of my head, I can't think of a more skilled horror cast.  Combine their work with the atmospheric CGIless setting and you are already well ahead of the game.

Horror is very subjective.  I still get the chills just talking about the end of The Blair Witch Project.  Other people find it a complete waste of time.  Hopefully, you are like me and find this to be a chilliest.

8 out of 10

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