Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Not Sure At All What Was Being Conjured

One coworker loaned The Conjuring to another coworker, and I wound up watching it with them, and here we are. It's based on a true story about the Perron family who, in the 1970s moved into a home that turns out to be haunted by a particularly malevolent ghost. One so angry and vicious, it has caused numerous previous inhabitants of that spot to kill themselves or suffer greatly, so that they too, are haunting the place.

Thus the family calls in the Warrens, a married couple who are also paranormal investigators, and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) has the gift to pick up impressions or visions of other people, so she can actually see the ghosts, along with things about them, their lives. That takes a toll, or so the movie tells us. She bears up pretty well, as far as I could tell.

It's very much one of those gotcha! films, where there's the long moment of tension and then BOO! a set of hands appear, or something moves, or whatever. As far as the primary ghost is concerned, I had two impressions. One, I was impressed by its range. While simultaneously manipulating the mother to bring two of her children back to the house so it can kill them, it also staged an attack on the investigators' daughter, in their home, some miles away. Two, she's kind of an ass. How many kids does she need to kill? It reminds me of that Daniel Radcliffe film, The Lady in Black I think, where even after they reunited her with her child, she kept killing kids. Watching that film, I had the desire to see someone go back, dig up her grave again, remove her child's body, then huck it into the Atlantic, if she's going to be such a snot about it.

I have no idea what they could have done to the ghost in The Conjuring, though they exorcised it, so maybe that's enough. There were certain threads that didn't quite feel completed for me. Why did the ghost not continue its attack on the Warrens' daughter? Why did I get the impression there was something strange about the daughter? I couldn't tell whether the way her parents behaved around her was simply a result of the paranormal things they experienced, or if they had some concern she was, I don't know, tainted by demonic presence because of some case they had while she was in the womb. There was always this watchfulness which felt less about protecting her, and more like she was under observation for some warning signs.

On the plus side, Mr. Perron (Ron Livingston) was actually supportive of his wife's assertions that something was wrong in the house. Usually in these films, it's the wife and mother (or the kids) that claim something is up, and the husband/father dismisses their concerns and returns to his Scotch. Well, Perron drank a little (understandable in the circumstances) but was full on board with the Warrens coming in, and did all he could to help. So that was a nice change.

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