April: When the music stops, you'll see him in the mirror standing behind you.
Very rarely does a great movie make us feel glad that it got over, the lights are out, the tension disappears, and when you see the face of the person next to you, a sense of relief washes over you, it’s all good, it is just a movie. But those two hours I spent at the edge of my seat, cowering in fear at the scares that James Wan so expertly threw at the audience, made me feel otherwise. For, The Conjuring is not just a horror movie, it is a heart pounding terrifying experience.
I believe that some movies are akin to a roller coaster ride, the ascent to the top is what builds the anxiety, as you slowly move up on the ride inch by inch, you hold on close to the one next to you, fearing the fall that follows next. And when the ride plummets at a breakneck speed from the top, you scream your lungs out, hoping the shrieks eat out the fear that has engulfed your heart. The Conjuring is a roller coaster ride where Fear is the driver. You fear for what you would see on the screen when it is night time at the Rhode Island farmhouse, you say to yourself “Oh God, don’t go looking into the closet, you fool! “ as a character unwittingly goes searching for someone in a game of hide and clap. You shiver in your boots when The Perrons go exploring their new home, not knowing what to expect, because you are as unaware as they are to the various forces that haunt their house. But you feel safe amidst the presence of seasoned paranormal investigators, The Warrens, because their presence is reassuring. The last time I had been so involved in a horror movie, feeling for the main characters was during The Exorcist.
James Wan introduces all the necessary tropes that you’d find in a horror movie, a reluctant dog, a little musical box, a hidden attic, a sleep walking child, a game of hide and clap, lesions occurring mysteriously on the body of a character, a creepy looking doll, a rocking chair, a horrifying legend of the haunted home, clocks freezing at a particular time, and some more, yet, where Wan makes this movie superior to other trashy horror films that we have seen in the recent past, is in their effective use. The sense of foreboding is heightened by Joseph Bishara’s thrilling score, as Wan wastes no time in creating a paranormal atmosphere around the haunted house. Solely relying on camera work and a strong screenplay Wan elevates the tension and gets your pulse racing. The movie is bereft of cheap thrills, no cuss words, no sex, no blood and guts being spilled on screen, yet The Conjuring sows an ominous feeling that envelops your mind.
The protagonists of the film, as confident as they come across while going about their business of exorcising demons, also have a troubled secret, thus making them vulnerable to the threat they face that is plaguing the Perrons, which makes for a brilliant sequence later in the movie. While the first act deals with setting up the scary atmosphere of the home, while introducing us to the protagonists, the second act throws us right into the dark with heart stopping visuals of corpses jumping out of nowhere, and spirits roaming about in the stairs. The final act is reminiscent of the The Exorcist’s finale that goes on to match the horror classic scream for scream.
If you are a sucker for horror movies, make sure you watch The Conjuring in a big screen, a cheeky 9 a.m. audience that was acting smart, and laughing off the fear factor with annoying wisecracks was eventually silenced when things got a bit more serious than just doors opening and closing on their own. There aren’t many horror movies that make you feel alone in a crowded movies hall, James Wan’s “The Conjuring” does exactly that as it feeds off of your fear. You can close your eyes, you can say a prayer, you can keep talking incessantly much to the annoyance of others to ward off terror, you can even hold on to your friend next to you, but eventually, you have to let go and let fear take over you. Because “The Conjuring” is that good, frighteningly good.