Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Movie Review: "The Conjuring"

By Skip Tucker
July 24, 2013

I can’t believe I saw the same movie. My long-time friend (and Mean Old Coot) Gary writes movie reviews (he actually does it as a job, while I just dick around with it from time to time). 
This is Gary.
And he's way scarier than this stupid movie.

Mostly, his taste in movies matches mine. 


He wrote this absolutely glowing review of “The Conjuring.” He used terms like “terrific acting” and “pitch-perfect directing,” and wrapping it up with his verdict was that the director “…does everything right.” 


Man, that wasn’t the movie I saw. 

I like scary movies. Not the “torture porn” genre, but truly psychologically scary movies that freak me the hell out. And, from time to time, I also get a kick out of scary movie parodies. 
The Conjuring is essentially a haunted house movie. Using the old, tried and true hook of claiming that it is “based on a true story” (arguably the most meaningless phrase in the English language), Director James Wan (Saw, Insidious), sets the stage with a young couple, Roger and Carolyn (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) and their brood of daughters who move into an idyllic house in the country. 

Things start going weird almost immediately, and they contact a ghost-hunting married couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) who essentially tell them, “You’re screwed.” 

The film then devolves into every hackneyed cliché from this type of genre, and every stupid thing anyone ever does in horror movies. Spooky noises from the basement? Let’s check it out – in the dark! Scary ghosts lurking around in your bedroom? Scream a little, then go to bed. There was the house from “Amityville Horror,” the doll that bore an uncanny resemblance to Linda Blair’s character in “The Exorcist,” and the ball from “The Changeling” bouncing around down in the basement. The opening credits claim that The Conjuring is based on a true story, but what it seems to be based on is every other horror movie preceding it. 

In truth, the only “scares” were the “Boo!” moments, where something appears onscreen to startle you. But you could tell when they were coming. Every. Single. Time. You’re not scared or startled when they TELEGRAPH that something’s about to happen. 

So I vehemently disagree with The Old Coot’s movie review. To be fair, though, most other reviewers and audiences actually liked it. Even Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 85%. 

Did we see the same movie?