Written by / 7/19/2013 / No comments / , , ,

THE CONJURING

year: 2013 cast: Lily Taylor, Ron Livingston, Patrick Wilson, Hayley McFarland rating: *1/2
Horror movies are fun and exciting, like a rollercoaster. They attract audiences who, gathered together like masses at a carnival, are expecting something in particular. And to get truly scared, beyond being jolted by a sudden noise, like a door slamming or, in this case, phantom hands clapping, is what's really important. A good horror flick has to earn the reward of internally spooking the hell out of, or into, a theater who paid for that thrill, or those thrills, to give them their money’s worth. So now, in 2013, THE EXORCIST is even scarier because the scariest thing in THE CONJURING is when (beware of spoilers) our leading lady geist, after causing animals to die and mentally torturing frightened children, finally shows up, looking a whole lot like possessed child Regan MacNeil… with spiderlike abilities. And there’s even a full blown Vatican-backed exorcism at the end, which, as Lily Taylor is thrust around every corner of the cellar, seems more like a Satanic Pro Wrestling Smackdown than a horror film.

The main story centers on a family in the 1960’s, with dad Ron Livingston (OFFICE SPACE), the already-mentioned Lily Taylor (a cult favorite for many years, specializing in the frantic and unglued) and a brood of young daughters that wind up being poked and prodded by an invisible trickster after midnight, but the curious mom gets most of the brunt along the way. The other main characters are real life paranormal researchers Lorraine and Ed Warren, "famous" for their AMITYVILLE case. Sporadic scenes of the couple lecturing college students, right in the middle of the family being haunted, are downright intrusive. And when Elaine takes center stage (her own daughter in jeopardy) we practically forget about the haunted house, now too crowded with an eclectic investigative team... including a macho cop named Brad Hamilton (80s kids will enjoy this reference)... to make us feel vulnerable for when the ghost, who’s more like an escaped convict at this point, decides to open and close more doors, loudly.

And the question everyone asks when watching any haunted house story, “Why don’t they just move out?” is answered by Ed Warren (paraphrasing), “You can't escape it... This ghost will stick to your family… like gum on your shoe.” Well it’s been two hours since watching this overrated, anticlimactic and downright ponderous mess and, to put it simply, there’s no gum… on either shoe.
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