I know it's still summer, but I'm ready for Halloween. While y'all have been out seeing The Conjuring, I've been spending my weeks on ebay, diligently searching for the perfect primitives and day-glo beistles to transform my dinky, Santa Monica one bedroom into my very own Haunted Mansion.
I finally left the house today and took myself to see what all this hype is about. So?... It's okay. I guess I can't really complain about a movie with a third act comprised of witches, evil birds, a haunted house, an exorcism and a demonic toy. There were some great tracking shots. Vera Farmiga was flawless (obviously). Joe Bishara's score is one of his best yet. It's still a weird moment though, The Conjuring.
After about an hour, the movie starts to lag. When I woke up, I found myself thinking about my childhood in New England. My mom and I lived in a house from the 1600s that was haunted for a minute. Call me crazy, but I swear paintings would find themselves stacked in corners when we were asleep or out at the mall. Doors would open and close. There would be drastic drops in temperature - all the good haunted house tropes - until one day when Momma started crying and explained to the water damage spot on the ceiling how we were just trying to make the house nice. They stopped bothering us after that. We had some good times.
I really liked Insidious because it functioned as a contemporary remake of Poltergeist, adapting its scenario and characters to fit in today's climate. Insidious showed us something we hadn't seen in the original - specifically, what was on the other side of the flood-lights and wind machine in Carol Anne's closet. Chronicle did the same thing for Carrie (sorry, Kim Peirce [I'm not sorry]).
By those standards, The Conjuring doesn't quite pass the test as an Amityville Horror reboot. There is some fantastic business with the Annabelle doll and Patrick Wilson's closet full of demonic antiques. But these moments are somewhat diminished by others when James Wan decided to color inside the lines (generic haunted house business, Lily Taylor pretending to be Margot Kidder). Is The Conjuring worth seeing? Sure. Why not? We should always try to support original content, no matter how derivative. Are there better movies? Definitely. Now, if you'll please excuse me... I have some important business to attend to.