It’s always a good idea to go out on top, right? If James Wan were reading this, he’d agree wholeheartedly, as this year’s red-hot horror director has apparently retired from the genre after exploding in 2013. Sure, I loved Insidious: Chapter 2, but The Conjuring was the James Wan directed horror film to break numerous box office records, including “Largest Opening For An Original Horror Film” and “Warner Bros.’ Largest 3-Day Opening For A Horror Film” – and with good reason.
The Conjuring is one of those “Based On A True Story” paranormal thrillers that blurs the line between fantasy and reality, suggesting that Ed and Lorraine Warren’s most exciting investigative ghost hunt actually happened – in some capacity. But, keeping that in mind, the idea that someone endured similar events to the horror witnessed on screen remains absolutely unnerving, and does bring a level of looming terror to a script that has made the Hayes brothers household genre names. Creating a cast of characters with depth and family connections, Chad and Carey presented James with a far better story than most horror films, as how many genre reviews contain a line like, “…but we don’t watch horror for the writing” or “…we’re here for the kills.” Well, guess what, with body count at shocking minimum and performances at a premium, The Conjuring soars above competitors by being a strong, steady, and well-written cinematic experience, let alone horror movie.
Such a head start was all that James Wan needed, as he took this wonderfully immersive script and spun his typical antique horror vibe, like a spider wrapping up his next victim. We’re caught in Jame’s ever-constricting web, tightening slowly as the film progresses, heightening the paralyzing fear as the situation becomes more and more grave. How does he accomplish this? Through dusty, Gothic, atmospheric tension that never lets go. Wan’s visual eye always sets up the perfect shots, his settings are always dreary, foreboding, and full off skin-crawling details that are meant to unsettle, but in the horror world, these settings are vibrant, full of mystique, and are always perfectly lit to leave plenty of hiding places for the nastiest of creatures.
I’ve already reviewed The Conjuring theatrically, so I could continue gushing if you really want me to – or I can start discussing the Blu-Ray specs on this sweet home release. For my full analysis, head on over to my review, which still holds up after a repeated watch, or you can just check this little summation out that hones in my feelings:
James Wan conjures up a truly paralyzing tale of supernatural terror with his retelling of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s most disturbing case, creating scares through detailed and properly crafted horror storytelling – not a body count.
Getting to The Conjuring‘s debut on Blu-Ray, there’s really nothing to worry about – except how vividly you’ll relive the Perron’s horrifying homeowner’s disaster. The Blu-Ray transfer brings Wan’s horrifying visuals to life in crystal clear perfection, so finite you can see the dust particles floating about the Perron’s musty basement. Not only that, but Joseph Bishara’s haunting score plays wonderfully through whatever surround sound system you might have, as Wan believes horror comes largely from musical cues and proper sound effects. In that sense, watching this Blu-ray will be just as invading as watching The Conjuring in theaters with the sound blaring – except you’ll have a blanket to hide under, and the popcorn won’t cost you a week’s allowance.
- The Conjuring: Face-To-Face With Terror
- A Life In Demonology
- Scaring The ‘@$*%’ Out Of You
Also included are three special featurettes, each one expanding upon Ed and Lorraine Warren’s shockingly “true” story. In “Face-To-Face With Terror”, we’ll meet the real Perron family, as well as Lorraine Warren, as they recall the real events that transpired over the incredibly active case. While some might have a hard time believing in the paranormal, it’s impossible not to notice just how visibly shaken the Perron family still remains. Carolyn particularly said she won’t even see Wan’s movie because of her experience – how spooky is that?
“A Life In Demonology” takes a look at the Warren’s professional career and what got them into the investigative business. We get first hand accounts from other paranormal detectives who were influenced by the Warrens and swear by their methods, but most importantly we get Lorraine’s personal testaments, revealing how she does her work. I don’t know if I truly believe in ghost, demons, and what have you, but hearing these first hand accounts, and seeing how adamantly these investigators swear by their practice, it’s hard to ignore the notion that something greater may be out there.
Lastly, we get James Wan’s personal recipe for horror, as the director reveals his trade secrets. He’s been scaring us over and over again, and he finally lets us know why he’s so damn good at it. Most interestingly, the Hayes brothers reveal that James read their first treatment, and actually said less scares were needed in order to build tension. The brothers, confused, reminded James this was a horror movie, but the director went on to say in order to build proper tension, and to draw the most out of the best scares, a build-up was necessary. “Trust me,” he said, and they did – think they’re happy?
With this Blu-Ray release, The Conjuring just gets better. It brings a tear to my eye thinking Wan may never scare the ever-loving bejesus out of me again, so here I’ll sit, just re-watching his filmography over and over again, checking my room for demons, and avoiding creepy puppets until Wan makes his triumphant return. He has to. I refuse to believe he won’t – but if he doesn’t, he’ll go out a king. Pick this Blu-Ray up at all costs horror fans, it’ll look wonderful on the same shelf as films like Child’s Play and The Cabin In The Woods (unless you put all the “The” movies in the “T” section, you sick bastard.)
The Conjuring is one of the best horror movies in years - not just scariest, but best as in quality level as well. Sporting a dense, full script, the Hayes brothers built a strong foundation for James Wan, who then created one of the spookiest haunted house attractions in recent memory.