Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Film Review: "The Conjuring" (2013).

The film’s opening scroll reads, "Since the 1960s, Ed and Lorraine Warren have been known as the world's most renowned paranormal investigators. Lorraine is a gifted clairvoyant, while Ed is the only non-ordained Demonologist recognized by the Catholic Church. Out of the thousands of cases throughout their controversial careers, there is one case so malevolent, they've kept it locked away until now." Which is not what you’d expect from the director of Saw and Insidious in this summer’s The Conjuring. This supernatural horror film directed by James Wan. The film centers on paranormal real-life investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren and the 1971 Harrisville, Rhode Island case involving the Perron family.

Edward "Ed" Warren Miney (September 7, 1926 – August 23, 2006) and Lorraine Rita Warren, née Moran, (born January 31, 1927) were American paranormal investigators and authors associated with prominent cases of haunting. Edward was a World War II US Navy veteran and former police officer who became a noted demonologist, author, and lecturer. His wife Lorraine was a professed clairvoyantand a light trance medium who worked closely with her husband. They have claimed to investigate over 100,000 cases that included the controversial and infamous Amityville Haunting, in which they were the first investigators on the case.

Development of the film began over 20 years ago when Ed Warren played a tape of Warren's original interview with Carolyn Perron for producer Tony DeRosa-Grund. DeRosa-Grund made a recording of Warren playing back the tape and of their subsequent discussion. At the end of the tape, Warren said to DeRosa-Grund, "If we can't make this into a film I don't know what we can". DeRosa-Grund then described his vision of the film for Ed. DeRosa-Grund wrote the original treatment and titled the project The Conjuring. For nearly 14 years, he tried to get the movie made without any success. He landed a deal to make the movie at Gold Circle Films, the production company behind The Haunting in Connecticut (2009), but a contract could not be finalized and the deal was dropped. DeRosa-Grund allied with producer Peter Safran, and sibling writers Chad and Carey Hayes were brought on board to refine the script. Using DeRosa-Grund's treatment and the Ed Warren tape, the Hayes brothers changed the story's point of viewfrom the Perron family to the Warrens. The brothers interviewed Lorraine Warren many times over the phone to clarify details. By mid-2009, the property became the subject of a six-studio bidding war that landed the film at Summit Entertainment. However, DeRosa-Grund and Summit couldn't conclude the transaction and the film went into turnaround. DeRosa-Grund reconnected with New Line Cinema, who had lost in the original bidding war but who ultimately picked up the film. On November 11, 2009, a deal was made between New Line and DeRosa-Grund's Evergreen Media Group.

Pre-production began in early 2011, with reports surfacing in early June that James Wan was in talks to direct the film. This was later confirmed by Warner Bros., who also stated that the film would be loosely based on real life events surrounding Ed and Lorraine Warren. In January 2012, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson were cast to star in the film. That same month, Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor were also confirmed for roles in the film. Principal photography began in late February 2012. Lasting for 38 days, shooting took place primarily at EUE/Screen Gems Studios as well as other locations in and around Wilmington, North Carolina. The film concluded its principal photography on April 26, 2012. All scenes were shot in chronological order. The film was in post-production in August of the same year. Around 20 to 30 minutes of footage was removed from the first cut of the film, which initially ran at about two hours in duration. After positive test screenings, the final edit of the film was locked in December 2012 and awaited its summer release.

The film stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren, and Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor as Roger and Carolyn Perron. The cast gave brilliant, strong and sympathetic performances. Especially for Wilson and Farmiga who, in preparation for their roles, traveled to Connecticut to spend time with Lorraine Warren, who also visited the set during production. Over the course of spending three days at the Warren home, both actors took in information that could not otherwise be achieved from secondary research. "I just wanted to absorb her essence. I wanted to see the details, she has such mad style. I just wanted to see — the way she communicates with her hands, these gestures, her smile, how she moves through space", said Farmiga on her observations of Warren.

This is the scariest film I've seen in years—the only scary film I've seen in years. If you want to be shaken—and I found out, while the picture was going, that that's what I wanted—then The Conjuring will scare the @#!*% out of you. The film is an expert telling of a supernatural horror story ... The climactic sequences assault the senses and the intellect with pure cinematic terror. It is also an amazing film, and one destined to become at the very least a horror classic. Director Wan's film is profoundly disturbing to all audiences; especially the more sensitive and those who tend to 'live' the movies they see. Suffice it to say, there has never been anything like this on the screen since The Exorcist (1973). There's a theory that great films give back to you whatever it is you bring to them. It's absolutely true with this film - it reflects the anxieties of the audience. Some people think it's an outright horror-fest but I don't. It is based on a true story about a normal American family who fell prey to supernatural hauntings and would make people think about the existence of the supernatural.

Simon says The Conjuring receives:

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