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FILM REVIEW: THE CONJURING (15)

Has anyone else been losing faith in the horror genre? It feels like years since I’ve been left hiding behind my popcorn.

The Paranormal Activity franchise has its moments, but before long, pans falling from the ceiling and bodies being pulled from their bed get tedious. The recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Evil Dead reboots had a few frights but relied too much on gore and shock values, lacking the suspense that their predecessors had.

The Conjuring (made with a budget of just $20m) is outselling most big budget blockbusters in the States. Does this mean the movie’s good or does it simply have a great marketing team behind it? More importantly, is it scary?

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Inspired by real events that took place in 1971, The Conjuring sees Roger Perron (Ron Livingston), his wife Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and their five daughters move into a new home in Rhode Island. As expected in a rundown mansion in the middle of isolated woodland (will people never learn?) strange things start to happen. The family are terrorised by visions of dead people, bizarre smells and unexplained bruises.

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The tormented household call upon the married paranormal investigators Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) – the same pair who later uncovered the Amityville Horror.

Before long, the spooky goings-on take a turn for the worst. Our investigators must put an end to the evil that lies within the home before the evil puts an end to them.

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Credit to the Director, James Wan, who really makes the most of what little he has. We’ve seen dusty basements and creaking floorboards a thousand times, but with Wan’s clever camera techniques and a real attention to detail with the characters, The Conjuring feels unique.

What isn’t so unique is the script. This year’s must see horror throws in almost every cliché possible, but that’s OK – why reinvent the wheel? I’d much rather watch something I’ve seen many times before that works, than something I’ve not seen before that doesn’t.

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Overall, The Conjuring is everything you could ask for in a horror film. It provides genuine chills, character’s we care about (and therefore care for their safety) and… a possessed doll! It ticks all the boxes.

I get through most horror films reminding myself, ‘This is only a movie’. As the closing credits roll, photos of the family that The Conjuring is based on pop up on the screen. This sent a shiver down my spine and reminded me that maybe this ISN’T just a movie. That alone makes this scarier than anything I’ve seen for a while.

Catch it now at Showcase Peterborough – for show times visit www.showcasecinemas.co.uk and join the chat on Twitter @showcasecinemas or find them on Facebook by searching for ‘Showcase Cinemas UK’.

Mikey Clarke

Genre: Horror

Cast: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor & Ron Livingston.

Director: James Wan

Runtime: 112mins

See if you liked: The Amityville Horror or Insidious.

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