I found a really entertaining page of pictures comparing the actors to the real people in the story. Those who have seen The Conjuring are going to be interested in this:
Reel vs. Real Faces of The Conjuring
There's a lot of interesting trivia under those pictures that's worth reading. There are also photos of the house where this actually happened. The house constructed for the movie seemed to be more the director, James Wan's vision than reality. It had some similarities to the Insidious house. That's one of the things about The Conjuring - if you like James Wan's style, you'll like the movie. You'll also notice a pattern. There is a recognizable flow to the action. He knows how to build tension and you'll notice that you have to wait a while for the action. Not that I'm complaining! I think a lot of nervous tension and quiet moments help to produce bigger scares. In fact, my few complaints about the movie involve the scary spirits/demons when they finally do show up! After writing reviews for Insidious and The Woman in Black, I'm noticing that pattern with myself. I'm spooked by the quiet creaking of doors and hints of shadows in the corner of a room, but I'm not too impressed with some bloody, hollow eyed thing leaping out. There was probably another group of people watching The Conjuring who said "Finally!" when the leaping occurred, but I thought the entities were a little over the top. That and why was the ghost of a woman who died shortly after childbirth portrayed as an elderly hag? I guess some might say that it was a demonic entity that chose to show itself in the creepiest way possible. Or maybe she went really prematurely gray...
Aside from those few complaints, I really enjoyed The Conjuring! I'll get into describing the plot in a hopefully non-spoiling way. The movie starts with a snippet of the Annabelle story. Those who know about the Warrens are all too familiar with Annabelle, but for everyone else: Annabelle is a doll. She looked like this in real life:
You can read more about her here:
It's an interesting read!
Long story short, Annabelle comes with a few issues. You might think she was possessed, although the Warrens explain that she's more of a conduit for a demon who'd rather possess a human. Annabelle has a small role in the beginning of the movie, which I think was a way of introducing the audience to the Warrens and what they do.
The movie takes turns introducing us to the Warrens and introducing us to the Perrons. The Perrons are a nice family comprised of two parents and five girls. The Perrons move into a new home, knowing nothing about the previous owners or history of the land. The house is of course haunted. The story takes place in the 1970s, and there's a pretty good soundtrack of groovy old 70s songs sprinkled throughout. Someone spent a lot of time collecting 70s decor and clothes for this movie!
Through Lorraine's psychic abilities and a lot of research, the Warrens deduce what has infested the house. After reading the real history of the place, I was surprised to learn that they actually went light on the ghosts in this movie! Although, if every ghost/event was mentioned this movie would have probably gotten confusing and long winded. Without giving away too many details, I'll just say that a lot is explained, there is a possession, and all hell breaks loose. I've seen a handful of exorcism movies, and this exorcism was handled quite differently. I liked how it was directed. Man, is it scary.
This movie could be good start to a long discussion. It makes you think about what causes these events. Is it a negative spirit? A haunting? Residual activity from terrible events in the past? A demon? The movie makes you consider the power of faith on negative forces. Ed Warren is forced by the desperate circumstances to perform an exorcism rite, despite not having done so before. He is familiar with the process, but he is not a priest. He does however have a strong faith in God and positive energy. An interesting piece of trivia is that Ed Warren went on to become the only non-clerical demonologist recognized by The Vatican.