The Conjuring (aka The Warren Files) review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
Horror movies often hold off until the very last minute before all hell breaks lose and that often serves as a good formula as some of the best horrors of recent history have abided by this tried and tested technique (Cabin in the Woods, Saw). The Conjuring also bides its time but in the end there isn’t all that much to wait.
The film follows a family of seven as they move into their new house only to find strange things happening every night starting with the mysterious death of the family dog. As the ghostly things taking place get worse they call in renowned ghost hunters Loraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) to help rid their house of this otherworldly presence.
The film starts off with a cheeky opening sequence that introduces you nicely to this world of things that go bump in the night before dropping you in at the beginning as the film ratchets up the tension slowly but surely making for a tension filled first act as director James Wan ensures you will never see what's coming by constantly keeping the camera moving while carefully adding small but innocuous details into the surrounding shot.
It’s excellent direction as he maintains the films on edge tone but when the film decides to introduce its heavy handed message of family the film starts to falter as the tension disappears in favour of faux family moments shoehorned in to provide context to paper thin characters (pretty much all the children are there for is to scream).
The ending is understandably action packed but its never really scary thanks to the frantic pace of the story as the film tries to cram in resolution and meaning into a short yet eventful ending, one that lacks the kind of conclusion expected and doesn’t really connect on any level.
That being said it is a well put together film, just one that doesn’t really manage what it has set out to do as it settles into a fairly melodramatic family film that does have a few scares but not enough to really impress anyone.