The Haunted Column | 'The Conjuring' and the rise of believable horror

The Conjuring
'The Conjuring' stands out due to its effective utilization of scary elements. Photo: IMDb

During the 2000s, the horror genre struggled to make a mark, with numerous films following predictable templates that failed to leave a lasting impact. However, a significant shift occurred with the release of 'The Conjuring'. What set this movie apart and propelled it to great success in Hollywood? Upon closer examination, several factors come into play. One of the key factors behind the success of 'The Conjuring' lies in its remarkably believable script that sends chills down your spine. The film is said to be inspired by a real-life incident, which sets a foreboding mood, as viewers anticipate the unfolding of something truly terrifying. It taps into the fascination Americans have with haunted houses, where ghostly occurrences typically take place in secluded mansions, and where it seems to take the police an eternity to respond.

'The Conjuring' stands out due to its effective utilization of scary elements. The film strategically employs horror elements in a way that enhances the overall experience. Instead of relying on torture-based horror, it skillfully incorporates traditional elements like haunted houses, demonic possessions, and exorcisms. One notable instance is the scene where the witch springs forth from the cupboard, launching an attack on Andrea Perron. This moment is genuinely terrifying, leaving virtually no viewer untouched by fear. Director James Wan's brilliance lies in his ability to build anticipation, creating an unsettling atmosphere where the audience senses that something is amiss. And when the anticipated horror finally unfolds onscreen, it surpasses even the darkest imaginings, intensifying the fright factor.

The movie stands out by presenting well-developed characters who play integral roles in the film, particularly paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Their convincing portrayal builds trust with the audience, who rely on them to assist the Perron family in their dire situation. The film's depiction of supernatural events feels realistic rather than gimmicky, creating a genuine sense of plausibility. The accompanying background score further enhances this feeling, adding to the overall atmosphere and intensifying the viewing experience. The movie is brimming with suspense in every minute, leaving no second unexplored. James Wan meticulously utilizes every opportunity, from the haunting appearances of the dusty old Annabelle to the eerie melodies emanating from music boxes.

In addition to its suspenseful nature, the movie delves into themes of love and the power of connections, showcasing how true love ultimately triumphs over evil. The narrative unfolds with a devoted mother, deeply affectionate toward her children and husband, becoming possessed. The resolution goes beyond Ed's exorcism or Lorraine's presence; it is the unwavering love that Caroline holds for her kids that emerges victorious. The malicious spirit finds itself powerless against a mother's boundless love, unable to execute its nefarious intentions.

'The Conjuring' emerges as a triumph in all respects, not only saving the horror genre from stagnation and the predictable tropes that often plague it but also standing the test of time. Despite years having passed since its release, it remains an undeniable masterpiece.

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