The year is 1971. Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and Roger Perron (Ron Livingston) and their five daughters - Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy, and April (Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, and Kyla Deaver respectively) - move into an old farm house. Their dog, Sadie, refuses to enter the house and the next day, after the discovery of a boarded up basement, Sadie is found dead in the garden. During the nights, the kids experience some peculiar events. Cindy sleep walks and slams her head into a wardrobe, and something keeps grabbing at Christine's feet. Carolyn eventually seeks help from paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) who agree, reluctantly, to perform an investigation. Despite initial thoughts that there is a very simple explanation for the family's experiences in the house, the happenings get worse and soon the investigating team are not looking to find the problem, but get rid of it.
|'THIS WAS MY BEST BED SHEET!'|
|'Is THAT what I look like today?!'|
A wonderfully thrilling first half with some genuinely chilling moments, it is just a pity the second act does not reflect the first. An almost impossible fight to win in horror film-making, though. Too many scares and no plot is classed as superficial, too much plot and not enough scares is simply not scary enough. The balance is extremely hard to strike. The Conjuring is, however, still a better horror than many other films that try to slip into that genre, there is just too few moments of brilliance - another thing that only gets harder to complete with every new horror.
Best Bit? It is, sadly, also in the first trailer. Upon checking out the newly found basement, Carolyn strikes a match to see into the silent dark. An eerie pair of hands appear over her shoulder and clap twice. A simple but extremely striking moment of horror cinema.