Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Nominee #12 - The Conjuring (2013)
Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren are called to help a family whose farmhouse is terrorised by an evil presence.
Of the many horror classics that have been acclaimed, discussed, or derided, this 2013 film by James Wan somehow made a unique impact on audiences and critics alike. Scoring 7.5 on IMDB and a meta-critics average score of 68, it has become not just a great among the greats, but also a powerful foundational film for a very successful franchise.
Like many awe-inspiring films, this movie’s script being based on real characters and events only adds to its already mysterious aura.
The story is about a family (the Perrons); a couple and their five daughters moving into a farmhouse which they soon discover is not the tranquil paradise they had dreamed of. Strange events prompt them to call on the famous paranormal investigator and acclaimed demonologist couple Lorraine Warren and Ed Warren; played with sensitivity and dignity by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson.
Matters quickly escalate and the odd and occasional paranormal events turn into a clearly focused attack on every member of the family. Carolyn, the mother of the 5 girls becomes a central character.
Initially they notice strange and frightening things, and then they rapidly get out of hand – their dog refusing the enter the house in the beginning (and which is later found dead), the clocks stopping at 3.07 am every night, the strange sounds, a wardrobe that opens into a cellar, picture frames falling off the walls, a terrifying set of hands joining the children in their clap and find game, a dark hand print which appears on Carolyn’s body, and the ever increasing gloom in the house.
Carolyn sees an evil spirit hovering right over her as she wakes up in bed, the children see a terrifying spirit sitting on the cupboard, and the subtle signs turn into open assault. Carolyn is diagnosed as possessed and in need of an exorcism, and the children desperately need protection as the house turns upside down. The family moves into a motel for safety only to find that it’s no longer just the house; the spirits are out to follow and get them.
Their investigation confirms that the house was cursed by Bathsheba a Satanist who sacrificed her infant to the devil and hung herself on the property. And the history of the house, since then has nothing but death, suicide and murder written all over.
The Warrens seek permission from the church for the exorcism, but even before that approval arrives Ed is forced to take matters into his own hands. The drama is intensified as Ed and Lorraine’s daughter (back home) comes under attack from the spirit through Annabelle (the doll); a case they had only recently investigated.
This film really scores on every front; a taut script, excellent performances by the cast, superb direction, music which enhances the gloom and horror, the nerve racking scares, and the horrifying climax which brings a worthy close to the searing intensity and realism of this deeply disturbing film.