Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

August 2, 2013

Fear factor

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:43 pm

August 02, 2013

Cast: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, Mackenzie Foy, Joey King

Director: James Wan

The problem with most modern horror films is that they’ve stopped trying to scare you; they want to gross you out instead with elaborate and explicit torture and killings. The Saw franchise, and even the repugnant Human Centipede movies seem to pride themselves on just how many times you have to turn away in sheer disgust at what’s unfolding on screen. It takes a film as old fashioned and as classically structured as The Conjuring to remind us that it’s the little things that can deliver the biggest scares.

Claiming to be based on a true-life story, the film stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as married couple Ed and Lorraine Warren, a pair of ghostbusters renowned for their extensive research on the supernatural, and for the success they’ve had ferreting out spirits from where they don’t belong. In 1971, they’re recruited by Roger and Carolyn Perron (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), who, after moving into their new home in Rhode Island, find themselves and their five daughters being terrorized by strange smells, unexplained bruises, and visions of dead people.

Director James Wan, who gave us the first Saw film, uses the camera niftily to create an eerie sense of foreboding, and employs music and sound effects shrewdly to heighten the shock. It’s true we’ve seen creaking floorboards and dusty basements a thousand times before, but he knows just how to exploit them for maximum effect. I’m not easily scared, but more than once during The Conjuring I found myself jumping in my seat.

The film also works because there’s a level of acting here that’s rarely seen in films like this. Lili Taylor cuts a sympathetic figure as a helpless mother, and Vera Farmiga is nothing short of terrific as a woman whose special abilities make her both powerful and vulnerable. Sure the last half hour feels heavily borrowed from The Exorcist and Poltergeist, but it’s all done with such style, you’ll forget you’ve seen it before.

I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for The Conjuring. It’s a nice throwback to the moody horror films of the 70s. Wear long sleeves when you go to the cinema, or you risk your date digging her nails into your arm.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. Its like old horror movies, no blood gore, has plot, good sound effects, some chills & thrills..
    Trust me, u won’t wanna go with chicks, they scream at the simplest of scenes..they seem engrossed so tend to over do their stuff..

    Comment by Shankz — August 3, 2013 @ 1:12 am

  2. Dear Rjeev,
    Thank you for this interesting review and am sure excited to go ahead and watch The Conjuring’ and I must add its always interesting to watch your interviews too.

    Warm Regards,

    Arsh JaiKrishan

    Comment by Arsh JaiKrishan — August 3, 2013 @ 11:07 am

  3. It is a good scary movie! The package is neat that doesn’t mean that it has all the big elements of scare, rather it is so meant to be watched as one another X-Files series on your TV, you know what I mean is it does not glorify the SCARE! A 2.5 on a 5.

    Comment by Ranga — August 3, 2013 @ 11:44 am

  4. dosto, hum koi rajeev masand ya roger ebert nahi hai. Agar apne review dena chahte ho to apne dosto ko sunaao. Rajeev sir ko nahi

    Comment by Chetan mistry — August 3, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

  5. But. I going with Rajeevsir. 7 out of 10

    Comment by Chetan mistry — August 3, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

  6. Went to see this movie yesterday and am totally satisfied with your review…It completely spooked me off…

    Comment by Prateek Dave — August 5, 2013 @ 10:15 am

  7. Wasn’t THAT Scary! Period!.
    Here’s What I Thought!

    Comment by Sohan Surag — August 7, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

  8. Great movie…
    Best part is that the director does not depend on too much of Ghosts and Scary faces to make you jump our of your seat in the first half 😉

    Comment by Ajit Ignatius — August 7, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

  9. like always u are right… it scares the daylights out of u

    Comment by masakalli — August 9, 2013 @ 1:13 am

  10. simply superb….seen a great horror after a very long time….

    Comment by mansoor — August 13, 2013 @ 2:08 am

  11. did’nt scare me at all…

    Comment by anil rathod — August 15, 2013 @ 11:18 pm

  12. On a scariness scale of ten, If paranormal activity is given a score of 10, the conjuring will hardly get 3 or 4. Its not scary at all… Mr. Masand has been too generous to give it 3.5 stars. The happy ending climax really disappointed me… I would give 2.5 out of 5 stars.

    Comment by Varaprasad — August 19, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

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