The Conjuring

What Jesse said:

Dude – watch The Conjuring. It’s scary. Like, totally scary.  I was really scared – but in a good way. It’s not lame like most movies that are supposed to be scary. You’ll be scared too. Seriously.

Mike’s verdict:

(This review is a lightly edited version of an email I sent to Jesse immediately after watching The Conjuring. That email was itself the main impetus for the creation of the mike reviews movies recommended by jesse blog.)

All that Blue’s Clues and Thomas the Tank Engine has made Jesse soft. The Conjuring was pretty decent as far as ghost movies go, but it wasn’t noticeably scarier than some others I’ve seen. Sort of reminded me of The Exorcism of Emily Rose (which I liked) but with annoying and unlikely secondary characters.

Part of the problem might be that I dislike movies where the ‘authorities’ have some kind of emotionally scarred history that they need to contend with – ie the chick ghostbuster seeing something scary at a previous exorcism. Really, she’s a bloody ghostbuster and she’s only seen something scary once? They could have at least made it that she had actually been possessed or something. The emotional block from the past is a cliched and far too easy way of pretending that characters have depth. It’s like the writers finish the movie and then realize that they haven’t explained what some character’s issue is; ‘well if we can’t work it into the movie proper then lets just throw it into the back story’. Lame.

Don’t even get me started on the cop that doesn’t believe in ghosts but is still more than happy to spend days and nights in the house anyway. And since when does the church refuse to help people just because they weren’t baptized? Oh wait, on second thought that actually makes sense…

I really didn’t like the museum of supernatural objects either. First, it’s clearly stolen from Warehouse 13. And second, it’s stupid – if you are a proper ghostbuster with a healthy respect for the supernatural objects that you are busting, you don’t store them down the hall from your daughter’s bedroom. At least in Warehouse 13 they have the sense to keep the objects buried in the mountains of South Dakota.

The movie definitely had some good creepiness though. Aside from the first bit about the doll where it looked like it was going to be a comedy, there were lots of scenes with creepy atmosphere. And they didn’t rely on the jump scare too much either. The very last scene looking at the mirror could have been an easy scare but they didn’t go for the cheap jump.

I give it a 7/10 since most of the issues are industry tropes that ‘real’ reviewers expect to see. It could have had an 8 but they chose to use an unattractive woman as the mother. That’s just lazy.


2 responses to “The Conjuring

  • Don Jon | mike reviews movies recommended by jesse

    […] was actually meant as a thinly veiled insult because I implied he was lame for thinking The Conjuring is scary. But Jesse doesn’t understand what this movie is actually about. All he knows is […]

  • The Babadook | mike reviews movies recommended by jesse

    […] On the surface, this film is a standard haunted-house ghost story that reminded me a lot of The Shining. There’s no terrifying father figure in this, but Essie Davis‘s early on portrayal of the exhausted mother is eerily similar to Shelley Duvall‘s. Similarly, Noah Wiseman does a less effective but still admirable job of channeling Danny Lloyd as the creepy child. And although it’s less literal than in The Shining, I definitely felt a similar sense of isolation on the part of the characters. Beyond the characters themselves, the atmosphere of The Babadook also reminded me a lot of The Conjuring. […]


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