Patrick Wilson as Ed
Vera Farmiga as Lorraine
Lili Taylor as Carolyn
Ron Livingston as Roger
Directed by James Wan
Synopsis: The Perrons just bought their dream house (at auction). After moving in, some crazy stuff starts happening and it’s scaring the family. A LOT. So they seek out the Warrens, considered to be highly effective demonologists/kooks, to see if they can figure out and make the presence leave their new home. What ensues is freaking crazy.
This movie is so insanely scary. I almost couldn’t handle it. 4th row + humongous screen + opening weekend = me losing my mind. However: it’s not just scary. It’s REALLY, REALLY GOOD. Props to Mr. Wan. He’s done a number. Again, apparently (he also directed Insidious and Sinister, but I have yet to see them). What’s good about it?
- The house. Older houses are always effective characters in horror movies, and this one could definitely be an Oscar ® contender (kidding). Lots of big rooms, wood floors (creaking), hollow walls and rejected furniture in the bedroom and basement/cellar (!) to add to the creep factor. The Perron’s basement is much better than the Rey’s in Paranormal Activity 2; it’s huge and dirty and has plenty of old foundation shadows to really make it creepy. Plus the open wooden staircase just makes you think Evil Dead.
- The leading ladies. Farmiga as Lorraine is classic—she really shows us the distance that she’s developed with her ability. She’s so strong and has a huge heart; Lorraine really wants to help the people who are affected by supernatural presences. Taylor takes the cake, however; her performance is so powerful as a mother who is struggling to cope with/defeat the entity in her home. She has to be strong for her girls (five of ‘em!), and be tough so that her husband can do his job to provide for the brood, but she’s so susceptible to the powers in the house that she almost can’t take it. Such an emotional performance.
- The nods to other films in the horror/paranormal genre. There are similarities everywhere: Evil Dead, The Paranormal Activity series, The Shining, The Ring, and most wonderfully, Living Doll, an episode of the original Twilight Zone series. It’s awesome. Apparently, this is my favorite genre, because I can see how filmmakers really draw from things that have been done to great effect to enhance their own movies. It’s not like they’re just remaking or stealing because they can’t come up with their own ideas; rather, there are certain ideas that just work in so many situations.
- Christine’s first realization that there’s something in the house. It keeps pulling at her feet. Then it moves the door. Then she SEES it. Her acting in that scene was tremendous. You just can’t fake that kind of fear. I mean, she was snotting herself. That’s scared.
- Any scene with Lorraine. She has such a commanding presence. Clearly the leader of the Warren gang. She instills confidence in those that require it. She comforts others simply with her presence, which is a little backwards, since she’s the one who confirms exactly what’s going on in the situation because of her ability. But she’s a rock star. If she was around, I think I’d be okay.
- The opening scene in which we learn about what the Warrens really do; Annabell is wack. For real. Get that shit outta my house.
Weepy Meter: 0/10 Unless you’re a total wimp and cry when you’re scared. Then you’ll be bawling. In the bathtub. Banging your head against the wall. Wait…
Man Meter: 9/10 Either he’ll want to go to protect you (it’s an ego thing, I think…) or he’ll want to go to prove that he’s a man and can handle scary. The men I went to see this with (R and T, thanks for a great evening; great way to open the Halloween season!) dug it. Jumped and yelled and everything. I knocked off a point for the guys who think scary movies are “stupid” and “not scary”. They’re out there, and they have big egos. There were a few at the show last night. They’re always the first to get scared. But you don’t want to go with one of those. They’re lame.
Overall Rating: 9/10 Not really sure about the connection between the doll and the Perron’s entity. That was weird. Scary, but weird.