Director: James Wan
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston
Plot: Based on a true story. The Perron family move into an old farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island in 1971. Soon terrifying supernatural forces begin to torment the family. They turn to Ed and Lorraine Warren, a pair of paranormal investigators for help.
Review: First of all, let me state how proud I am that James Wan is from Malaysia, like myself. He may have only a handful of films under his belt, but people are already calling him a master of horror. It's hard to argue that point.
The Conjuring is a scary film, and not simply because it's based on a true story. Wan skilfully combines a haunted house piece with a possession piece, and as in his previous films, gives us characters that are well written and puts the right cast in place. As a result, The Conjuring makes his previous movie Insidious look like an episode of Supernatural. It's also to writers Chad and Carey Hayes, and the real Lorraine Warren's credit that the film turned out so well. (Lorraine serves as a consultant for the film)
Now, unlike most films of this ilk, The Conjuring is taken mostly from the investigators' point of view, which is a refreshing change. To that end, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are truly solid in their roles as Ed and Lorraine. The duo have great chemistry together and make their relationship very believable. Wilson is great as a demonologist who gives lectures on supernatural occurrences while Farmiga is excellent as a clairvoyant who is able to see the dark forces around her. Their love for each other as they face a great evil in the Perron's new home is the heart of the film.
Ron Livingston puts in an understated performance as Roger Perron but it works well. Lili Taylor though nearly steals the show as Carolyn Perron, who convincingly projects her fear of being terrorised by the evil spirits in her home. Her performance during the film's climax is simply awesome. Special mention also goes out to the five girls playing the Perrons' daughters (Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy and Kyla Deaver) who each have their own moment to shine when the spirits show up.
The technical guys also deserve credit, like John R Leonetti for his unique camerawork (the upside down shots were really cool), Julie Berghoff for creating the design of the film (really creepy overall) and the visual effects team for making everything seem genuinely scary.
Overall I had a fun and scary time with this film. If you like being scared shitless, this is the film for you. (4/5)