The movie The Conjuring is a tale of horror revolving around witchcraft and its attendant evil. Well, that’s how the movie tries to come across; the problem is, of course, that witchcraft as understood by most Wiccans has nothing to do with Satan and is not evil. That said, this movie is supposed to be based on a true story. And in this story, the witch in question sacrifices her young baby to “Satan,” (whether or not it was actually Satan or a misunderstanding of the Wiccan horned god, I don’t know) and after her own death goes about forcing other mothers to do the same. Hence, this particular witch—supposedly based on a true account—clearly is/was evil regardless of the religion she practiced or how one understands said religion. Well, enough of a digression into comparative religion and moral philosophy :), on with the movie …
This film tells the story of the Perrons, a family who recently moved into a house that is haunted by a dark presence (the aforementioned evil witch, to be precise). They are so terrorized they call on paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Ed and Lorraine Warren are actually quite famous in paranormal circles. As I said, the film is supposed to be based on a true account. The Perrons experience the whole bevy of demonic harassments. It begins with simple things: an occasional unexplainable sound, clocks stopping, and similar such things. It progresses to people being awoken by something pulling on their legs, to being attacked by ghostly apparitions and ghost-propelled objects. It culminates in a possession and an attempted murder.
Strengths: this movie held my attention from the very beginning. It was not your typical hacker/slasher horror movie filled with people being slain left and right. I won’t tell you how many people actually died in the film, because that would ruin the surprise (it is a very low number—I’ll tell you that much). The low death toll is actually a strength in my opinion; the movie got its scares without killing people … and it did a good job at that. It had all the potential of the movie Sinister, but it delivered because it didn’t end in a blood bath. Weaknesses: My one and only complaint was the over dramatization of the special effects in the end. As the movie reached its climax, so did the use of special effects. And if paranormal events involved such phenomena to such a degree in real life, I don’t think anyone would question their reality. But I guess that’s just Hollywood, dressing up the truth to better compete in the marketplace. Other than that, I don’t think there were any weaknesses.
I’ll give the movie The Conjuring four out of five stars.