Before Christianity and Latin existed how did exorcists exorcise? A lingering question after watching The Conjuring, a film by James Wan.
The age of Scary Movie-esque franchises has turned seeing dead people and being haunted by and evil spirits into mundanely comic events. Sexy vampires, farcical zombies, and ridiculous inside jokes about the world’s end begone! The Conjuring is a big horror film that is actually good and scary. Finally!
Still, Director Wan uses all the old horror tricks to build up the suspense: creeping suggestive crescendos in the score, brief uncertain glimpses of unknown beings, and of course, lots of loud and unexpected jolts.
The film opens as the Perron family arrives at their new home, a large fixer-upper in the Rhode Island countryside. As the family starts their life in the new house the haunting becomes apparent. Clocks stop, doors slam, people scream. Terror drives the family to huddles up in the living room where they spend their nights sleeping together. It makes the spirits calmer, they say.
A little too conveniently, famous demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren just so happen to be speaking nearby. Mrs. Perron persuades the Warrens to come inspect the house. Lorrain Warren, a kind of clairvoyant, senses real trouble in the Perron house immediately. Using cameras, Holy magic, and Latin scriptures, the fight begins to save not only the house from destruction, but the people inside it as well.