Old-School Scary: A “The Conjuring” Review

It’s always so intriguing when a film is based on a true story, especially if it’s something bizarre and out of the ordinary. There’s an added thrill and excitement to the movie-watching experience when you know that what you are seeing may have actually happened in real life, and there’s no reason why it couldn’t happen to you as well.
The real life Perrons. Yes, REAL LIFE!
Based on true events reported by real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warrens (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in the movie), The Conjuring follows the Perron family, who has just moved to their new farmhouse at Harrisville, Rhode Island. Soon after they have settled, disturbing events occur and unseen forces start “attacking” the family members. Terrified and desperate for help, Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) consults with the Warrens, who then discovers the dark past of the Perron’s home, and that whatever is haunting their family definitely doesn’t want them to stay. 

The Conjuring Trailer

One look at the movie and it’s easy to tell that this is probably going to employ a lot of old-school horror tactics. I’m not saying this because the film was set in the 70s, but the fact that the movie made use of the “family-moving-in” cliché of your typical horror flick already made me set my expectations at a conservative level. As I was seeing the movie, I knew that I was right about the old-school style, but one thing that I didn’t see coming was how old-school horror can still be so effective at scaring the shit out of you.

Her name is Anabelle. And she wants to play with you. That’s why she’s behind you right now.
The scoring for example, was reminiscent of the horror movies I used to see as a kid (and I’m telling you that was a loooong time ago), but the timing and execution was efficiently done, fading-in and breaking-out to you at the right and most unpredictable moments. There was also very minimal use of special effects, making use instead of ingenious concepts such as the “Hide and Clap” game, the UV Light, and the Music Box as tools for creating anticipation for scare tactics, while still leaving room for imagination of the audience at the same time.
“Everybody in the house, lemme hear you say OOOHWHOA!!!”
I can’t pinpoint exactly what makes The Conjuring stand-out in its genre. Like I said, there wasn’t a lot of things that are new in this movie, and it’s actually easier to identify the recycled horror manoeuvres. The quality of the whole film felt like “The Exorcist” and “The Amityville Horror” squeezed into one. Yet in spite of the familiarity in style, the scenes are still unpredictable, and it was scary enough for me to wish, more than ever, that I had a roommate.
“She says I will die in seven days”
After all the “Paranormal Activities” that we’ve been seeing the past years, “The Conjuring” becomes a reminder of what horror really is about. It used familiar scare tactics, but they are carefully and strategically laid at the right moments. And yeah, I did mention that this was based on a true story, so you better do some good research before you get that doll from the antique shop.

The Conjuring Cast

Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren
Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren
Lili Taylor as Carolyn Perron
Ron Livingston as Roger Perron
Shanley Caswell as Andrea Perron
Hayley McFarland as Nancy Perron
Joey King as Christine Perron
Mackenzie Foy as Cindy Perron
Kyla Deaver as April Perron
Shannon Kook as Drew
John Brotherton as Brad
Sterling Jerins as Judy Warren
Marion Guyot as Georgiana Moran
Steve Coulter as Father Gordan
Joseph Bishara as Bathsheba
Directed by: James Wan


  1. The thing that makes The Conjuring standout amongst other horror films these days is just in how technically well made a film it is overall. However, as you've mentioned, it hardly breaks new ground, and at least I personally didn't find it to be all that scary (my theater was chuckling through most of it). Still, not a bad little horror flick. Good review, Geoff! 🙂

  2. Good review Geoff. Not as scary as I would have liked, but still a whole bunch of fun nonetheless. Especially with the crowd I originally saw it with.

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