(The New Indian Express link)
There is something about the north-eastern United States that lends itself to everything spooky, creepy and paranormal. Maybe it owes a great deal to Stephen King and his Maine but in The Conjuring, the latest horror offering from Hollywood directed by James Wan, it is Rhode Island. The Perron family of seven moves into their new home in Harrisville, Rhode Island – the husband, wife and their five daughters. As they begin to experience supernatural events, they call in paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren played by the usually charming Vera Farmiga, with very little reason to even smile here.
The set up has all the clichés of the genre. The home in the middle of nowhere. A big house with a stairway and a ravaged disregarded basement. Creepy dolls and creaky doors. The list is quite endless. What’s new? Maybe nothing but the filmmaking is refreshing and therefore everything is pure clockwork. Wan gets his world right and the result is an eerily atmospheric film. That’s what wonderful staging and direction can do to a story that’s otherwise as old as the possessed land in The Conjuring. There is clairvoyance even in the dialogs as Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) comments on their investment in the house, “I know it was a lot to bite off.”
Wan doesn’t use cuts very often to scare you into shock or make you jump in your seat. The camera most of the time just pans. There are a number of tracking shots, the first one is a beauty as we track one of the girls around the house and she gets out to hang a wind chime just when April discovers an interesting object a little further away from the porch. The other one isn’t as much a tracking shot but comes at the end of the film when Drew (Shannon Kook) goes in search of April while an exorcism is on in the basement. The camera panning down the stairs doesn’t care for your orientation and that’s more creepy than anything else in that intense sequence. It is all anticipation before a split second explosion.
The Conjuring defies a genre that may have lost its bag of tricks. Does the film bite off more than it can chew? Not at all. Just make sure you have the heart to bite this bullet.