This may sound like another typical ghost house plot, but this movie was so much more. I personally love James Wans work in the horror genre. I loved the original Saw, directed by him, and even some of the sequels which were not directed by him. I loved the intensely creepy movie "Dead Silence". I even liked his attempt at the thriller revenge film with "Death Sentence". Then he made a big comeback in the horror genre with the landmark film "Insidious" which terrified many, and made many think it was pretentious. The film was written by his friend Leigh Whannell, who also wrote and starred in Saw. It was polarized with great reviews and some negative reviews. But most great horror movies go through that type of reaction at the time of its release. Now it is considered a modern classic in the genre. It even has a sequel "Insidious Chapter 2" which is directed by Wan and again written by Whannell, so that seems legit! But before Insidious 2, James was rumored to direct another Horror movie. So then I began anticipating James Wans next movie. I heard about "The Conjuring" being in production, but that it wasn't being written by Whannell. I was slightly less interested at that point. Then the first teaser trailer came out. It was the perfect build up of tension similar to that of "Insidious" and some classic horror movies I will mention later. I wanted to see this movie. The official full length trailers were nice and creepy too. Now onto the review.
Not only is this a great horror movie, but it is a great movie in general. Many have compared parts of the film to "The Amityville Horror". Some have said it like it is a bad thing. But you have to remember that the investigators of this movie also investigated the real life Amityville house. The similarities are a nice touch in my opinion. But honestly, this movie makes Amityville look like a Disney movie. The characters in the movie are REAL. They make you care for them. You start to feel like these people are friends of yours or distant relatives while watching the movie. When things start to happen to them at night, you feel like you are experiencing it with them. This is something that is hard for a horror movie to do. Usually you just want to see the scary stuff happen to the people and watch certain characters die. The actors and actresses all do a wonderful and believable job. The music is very unsettling in a great horror movie way. This movie made me feel like a kid again being scared of the 'unknown' entities in the dark. Those are still creepy thoughts even as a grown up after watching a movie like this. There is creepy tension echoed throughout the film. The movie also manages to have some of the scariest images seen. When the apparitions finally reveal themselves, I started to cover my eyes like a child. There is something about the way James Wan directs these images. An image of an old woman ghost slowly floating over you. You have to see it to know exactly what I'm talking about. I honestly jumped in terror more than a few times. Something that rarely happens for me. There is even the typical James Wan aspect of the film featuring evil dolls. The first part of the movie has a lot of build up and some rather jumpy scary scenes. The final part of the movie is very intense with its scare value without turning into another mindless horror movie. Don't take your eyes off the screen or you'll miss some of the more subtle and creepy scary moments. There are seriously moments that will definitely keep children and some adults up at night. There is a perfectly set up scene involving a maid that is proof you can scare an audience without cutting someone up.
This movie will remind you of Insidious too with its style of directing, but this movie is also more of a traditional movie with many elements of horror. But honestly, this movie surpassed Insidious greatly with its scare value. This is undeniably James Wans best movie to date. This film can go on great horror movie lists along side "The Exorcist", "The Shining", and "A Nightmare On Elmstreet" etc. I can see this movie becoming a hit at the box office as well. There is even a slight chance that this movie might be the first horror movie in a long time to be recognized at the Oscars....maybe! Dare I say it? This movie is scarier than "The Exorcist"! But that's just my opinion!
See it in theaters if you have the chance! If not, then rent or buy it! Turn off the lights and get ready to be frightened.