In the last few years there's been some pretty good to very good supernatural thrillers made if you like the genre. Sinister, Cabin In The Woods, Mama, the first Paranormal Activity and Insidious to name a few all had some great moments to make it worth the time. There was even a good enough market for The Last Exorcism that the producers even filmed a sequel. But none of them hit the mark like The Conjuring did. Let's face it, Americans love to be scared at the movies. I know I do. I'm always looking for something new to try and scare the bejesus out of me (rarely do they ever succeed) and when I saw the trailer for The Conjuring, I wasn't impressed. With the economy still not producing for us in the middle class I make sure to check out some reviews before I decide to drop the 25 bucks it usually takes to see a film by myself (these days a date costs at least 50.00) and my first stop is the NY Times. (By the way, you can get to their reviews via MRQE.com, which is a terrific resource for reviews)
When I checked The NY Times I was shocked to see that they gave it a NYT Critics' Pick -- which is quite unusual for a horror film.
In a nutshell, I haven't been this scared in a movie since The Exorcist. Now, no movie can ever equal what The Exorcist did to its audiences or to the film industry, but there have been many to try and claim a place on the mantle right next to it. Well, this is the one that in my estimation is worthy because it actually is a terrific movie.
I went in with high expectations and I am glad to report that those expectations were met. The Conjuring is a creepy tale based on a supposed true story in 1971, about how one family's new farm house turned into their worst nightmare and how another family of paranormal experts tried to help them. Vera Farmiga and Lili Taylor steal the show, but the overall cast is outstanding. After the first five minutes I was filled with an impending doom as I watched Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) and her daughters play hide and clap around their new musty Rhode Island house. I must have jumped in my seat at least five times during the movie and that never happens.
If you care, the set design, direction (James Wan also directed Insidious), acting, editing, music score were all top notch and then add in two story arcs on top of it all and that closes the deal.
No movie can ever equal what the Exorcist accomplished and no, there has never been a true sequel to it, but for the shear number of thrills that are in The Conjuring, there hasn't been a better movie made in a very long time. I know the movie has been out for a couple of weeks and I wish I had been able to go sooner to cue you in, but if it's still in your neighborhood then get to it.
Just an Average Joe's recommendation: *Spend the cash.