Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Movie Note: The Conjuring

I know this flick has been out for a few weeks, but I just saw it on Saturday.

Anyway, The Conjuring was a pretty good old-fashioned horror flick, supposedly based on a true story. I'm not sure why it was rated R, as it was not only not particularly bloody or graphic, but the language would barely earn a PG nowadays, and there was a noticeable dearth of nekkid females. The subject matter was fairly disturbing, but no more so than a bunch of people being chased (and eaten) by dinosaurs, like in Jurassic Park. I think this would have scared the crap out of my daughter, which is all the more reason I would let her watch it, the smug little brat!

Any way, on to the flick.
The movie centers around a family, 5 young girls and their parents, who move into a creepy old house in the country. Surprise, surprise, it turns out the house is haunted. Who'd a thunk it?  Anyway, things get progressively creepier and creepier and eventually, mom goes out and brings in a couple of professional ghost hunters who come in, determine the source of the problem and set about to fix it.

That's basically the whole story. There's nothing here you haven't seen before, from The Amityville Horror (based on another of the ghost hunters' cases), to The Exorcist to Paranormal Activity to pretty much every haunted house/demonic possession movie you can think of, but it's put together well, well shot, with a few good laughs and best of all: The pet cat count of the family is Zero. That might not seem significant, but I think it is. In a genre full of clichés that can hardly be avoided, this movie left out the biggest cliché of all: The false scare caused by a pet cat unexpectedly jumping out. I have to praise it for that, at least.

The filmmakers obviously realized they were dealing with a genre that's been done to (post-)death, and while they revel in a number of them by setting them up, then not giving the payoff. This movie is as amusing for what doesn't happen as for what does. There are a few pretty good scares, the special effects are good, and even at nearly two hours the pace never drags. There were a few yelps from scared people in the theatre when I saw this, and everyone else seemed to enjoy it as well.

I would recommend this movie for a date night with someone you want to hold you when it gets scary, or for a matinee. Since it IS a couple weeks old, it will likely be at dollar theatres pretty soon, where you can see it at a price that will even allow you to buy popcorn and a drink. Or, watch it on home video in a few months. Like I said, it's nothing you haven't seen before, but it's well put together and enjoyable, if you're into the whole scary movie thing, which I am.

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