What The Conjuring Did Right

There is an abundance of horror movies in 2019 with countless being released throughout the year with Halloween being the best time for releases as most people will be looking for cheap thrills to scare them even more during the spooky season.

Horror, by definition is the feeling that it instils in an individual, usually the feeling is of extreme fear, disgust or shock. It can also be applied to horror movies, whose main purpose is to scare or shock the viewers. There is a wide spectrum of what horror movies can be about, it doesn’t just have to be focused on supernatural horror.

Most people when presented with a horror movie will instantly think of ghosts or supernatural entities terrorizing innocent people with malevolence. But horror movies nowadays cover a wide range of styles such as monster horror which features monsters as the main antagonist such as Godzilla or Cujo, slasher horror which features usually deformed human beings as the crazed psycho slasher killers in the movie, for example ‘Scream’ and ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’. There is also psychological horror which is a sub-genre of horror and psychological fiction which relies on mental, emotional and psychological states to frighten, disturb, or unsettle its audience with well-praised movies such as ‘Black Swan’, ‘Get Out’ and ‘It Comes At Night’.

When The Conjuring was announced, the trailer blew people away with its sheer horror and cinematography, plus the plot was based on a real story which tends to always attract more attention towards a movie. Before The Conjuring, there was an endless amount of supernatural horror movies, but there were not a lot that stood out or was memorable due to the lack of understanding on the elements of horror from directors and due to the characters’ own actions that make the viewer unable to sympathize or understand their plight.


The Conjuring knows how to deliver the scares well and relying on excellent camera work and atmospheric sounds, was able to deliver a movie that terrified viewers long after the credits start rolling. Countless horror movies have used the ‘Based on a real story’ tagline to truly instil extreme fear in the viewers however most have flopped in the box office due to either the plot of the movie or the cinematography that failed to make use of the surroundings or the actors’ environment to unsettle the viewers.

When The Conjuring was released, critics praised and raved about the extremely realistic portrayal of an innocent family targeted by unholy spirits.

Based on the Perron family case, The Conjuring is based during 1970 where paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren are summoned to the home of Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and Roger (Ron Livingston) Perron. The Perrons and their five daughters have recently moved into a secluded farmhouse, where a supernatural presence has made itself known. Though the manifestations are relatively benign at first, events soon escalate in horrifying fashion, especially after the Warrens discover the house’s macabre history.

The Conjuring from the start does not portray any of the character unrealistically, the seasoned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren are portrayed as stout believers of the supernatural but that does not mean that they sell the supernatural aspect to anyone that comes seeking their help. They are honest in their work and debunk the house owners’ beliefs and most of the times, the house has either a creaky pipe with bad walls around the house that project the sound around the home making it sound as if there were a spirit inside. However, when the mother of the Perron family, Carolyn arrives at one of their talks to request for help, Ed and Lorraine believed it to be one of the cases where nothing supernatural is involved but that was far from the truth.

The movie was able to deliver and execute the plot extremely well, there was never a dull moment in the movie and the director, the brilliant James Wan was able to utilize and make use of all of the actors’ excellent skills to really invest the viewer into the story. Another reason the movie was received so well was due to it at the time being one of the few slow burn horror movies’ around and because of it being a slow burner, it was able to engage the audience even more into the story and thus delivers the scares much better. Furthermore, because the movie takes its time to build up, you start to develop attachment to the characters and sympathize with them unlike some other horror movies where the characters are written really badly that you don’t care for what happens to them.

The scare element was also refreshing to see, where the movie masterfully makes use of the surroundings to scare the viewers such as using a pair of hands hidden in the background coming out from a wardrobe or the usage of excellent camera work to distract the audience from the scare that is coming. The Conjuring was a horror movie that truly scared me and left me thinking about it for a long time afterwards and it really left a sense of dread in me for a few days to come.

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As many movie critics have pointed out, the movie is not anything new but it presents to us old school horror. Even still, the movie is able to take those well-known horror elements but still breathe life to it to present to us such a great example of what atmospheric horror should be. Some horror movies have clever and unique plots to the story, but it is the execution and the atmosphere of the movie that fails to deliver the scares and thus make the viewers feel bored of the movie.

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James Wan is able to know what the viewer wants to see and delivers it well with this movie. Every shot of the movie is beautiful and the scary parts truly stand out compared to other movies simply from the brilliant camera work and the score used. This movie can truly be used as a textbook standard on what is a good horror movie and I definitely hope for more similar movies in the future.

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