Ed and Lorraine Warren are famous American paranormal investigators. Lorraine is a medium and Ed was the only non-ordained demonologist recognized by the Catholic Church.
They began operating the New England Society for Psychic Research in 1952, but didn’t really become celebrities until the early ‘70s, when they were involved in the Amityville case, which of course was a particularly popular story of one family’s torment living in a haunted house.
The Warrens were involved in several other famous American ghost stories, as well as exorcisms. They also operated a haunted museum out of their house.
Ed died in 2006 but Lorraine is still active in the ghost hunting community and has appeared on most of the paranormal investigation shows you see on TV. In 2009, the film A Haunting in Connecticut was about another Warren case.
The Conjuring follows the case of the Perron family, which is an as of yet untold tale of a married couple with five daughters who move into a (surprisingly affordable) rural home, which of course, is haunted. The Perrons’ torment reaches the point where they seek the help of the Warrens and they get it, but not before scaring the hell out of theatre-goers.
We say, “It’s the scariest thing we’ve reviewed.”
TAYLOR: I love this movie. The tale isn’t that different than any other haunting, even similar to movies I hate, like any of the Paranormal Activity films. The Conjuring, however, has style. It’s extremely well crafted: taut, sparse, simple and creepy. There are plenty of jumps, which I consider cheap, but there are also several moments that made my blood run cold. It’s difficult to describe the success of the scares in the film without either spoiling your fun or sounding silly. I think it’s the product of excellent direction that makes something as banal as a bouncing ball, terrifying. It takes a lot to scare me and even more to impress me, this film does both.
HOWE: I was very impressed with The Conjuring. To me this is the scariest movie we have had to review in the last year and a half, maybe go as far as saying the last 10 years. It didn’t make me jump as such, but just the way it was shot got my heart racing good a few times, especially in the dark eerie areas. It’s one of those movies that you don’t see many trailers for, or if you do, doesn’t look that appealing. Then when you do watch it, it just knocks your socks off. Excellent.
TAYLOR: I feel I should mention that I was extremely disappointed with the ending. Yet the rest of the movie was so good that I can forgive it. I’ll deduct half a point for an ending that is too abrupt and too tidy. However, on the whole, The Conjuring is a film full of great scares, well acted, excellently captured and a “true” story to boot. (I put “true” in quotation marks because, although the investigation of the Perron family actually happened, we have no way of knowing if the conjuring did.) Personally, I don’t care. Great film.
— Howe gives The Conjuring 4 toy monkeys out of 5.
— Taylor gives it 4.5 antique pianos out of 5.
The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.
Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.