Pulling Tedium Out Of A Hat: The Conjuring Review

3 Nov

“Hey, I have a new idea for a ghost possession movie, but I don’t know what to name it. Any ideas?”

The Conjuring!”

“… Wait, what?”

“I’m sorry, did you say ‘ghost possession’, or ‘evil magician’?”

“… Um. Ghost possession?”

“TOO BAD YOU’RE NAMING IT THE CONJURING.”

And thus, The Conjuring was born!

Conjuring? I just met ‘er! … ing.

People ask how I can get through such awful movies. Well, the answer is simple: Self delusion, absinthe, a frankly unreasonable amount of porn, and a constant loop of Matthew Wilder’s Nobody’s Gonna Break My Stride.

But the thing that every reviewer knows is that the hardest things to get through aren’t the deplorable and the nightmarish. No, no, no, the hardest things to get through… are the boring, the banal, and the tedious!

And that’s where The Conjuring comes in!

This movie managed a 7.6 on IMDB, an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, even made their list of scariest films. Um. I’m sorry, but what film were they watching?! The film I saw was the cinematic equivalent of fucking white noise! Like Keanu Reeves eating Wonder bread in the middle of an oatmeal convention!

Let’s get this over with! Ahem!

The film opens with disquieting violin music over the Warner Brother’s logo, as if the scariest thing they can offer is the idea that somewhere out there, a better show like Animaniacs exists, and we cut to a woman explaining her haunted doll to our two protagonists. Oh, you mean the haunted doll that has absolutely no fucking effect on the plot, yet has shown up in every damn advertisements? That one?

That really, really, really, pointless one?

The lady goes on about her ghost troubles to our bargain bin Ghostbusters, and we’re treated to a flashback, showing the evil doll committing evil deeds whenever nobody’s looking. Great, so you have a porcelain Weeping Angel with a penchant for minor vandalism.

During the flashback, the two women come home to find the doll has scribbled all over the apartment, because ghosts are fuelled by pettiness. It’s tossed out on it’s ear, but later in the night, the doll knocks on the front door, only to show up in the closet.

The terror?

Back in the present, our two ghost hunters are explaining that the doll wasn’t possessed by a ghost. No, no, that’d be silly! It’s a demon, naturally! Oh, I bet THAT makes them feel better! “And the demon wasn’t trying to get in to the doll, it was trying to possess you! Nighty night!”

And, solely to make that scene even more pointless, it’s revealed that all this was was a university lecture. A flurry of exposition is then thrown out by the students, to establish that our heroes, Ed and Lorraine, are ghost hunters, which was already established in the doll scene, and then we get scrolling text exposition OKAY JESUS FUCK WE’LL JUST READ YOUR DAMN WIKIPEDIA PAGE IF YOU’LL JUST GET ON WITH THE DAMN PLOT!

“Based on the true case files of the Warrens.” Oh, so THAT’S why this is dull as dishwater!

Fortunately for us, somebody in the studio finally remembers that movies are supposed to have plots, and we cut to a family moving in to their new house. They have a frankly unreasonable amount of daughters, and a single dog. I assume the dog’s name is just “R.I.P”?

While everything’s getting set up, one of the daughters sneaks away and finds a music box out by the giant creepy tree. And if you think that giant creepy tree is going to be relevant in any way, well then, you haven’t met the director of this movie!

Some of the daughters start a game of Marco Polo, and in their escapades, they accidentally knock a hole in the closet wall. This inevitably leads to a secret basement, which of course nobody knew about before buying this house, because these people choose their real estate by throwing a fucking dart!

The Father goes downstairs to check it out, but because this is a horror movie with only the barest semblance of horror, he escapes unscathed. He and his wife go to bed without incident, and the evening draws to a close without incident. Well paced horror, or intense dullness? YOU DECIDE.

When they wake up the following morning, the Housewife finds a mysterious bruise on her leg, and her husband is nowhere to be seen. Usually, this just means that BDSM Night has gone badly, but this time around, it’s the precursor to spoOoOoOoOky things!

It turns out the Father has been rummaging around in the basement of plot significance, and because the Housewife cares just as much as we do, she leaves to go make some tea. And while she does that, one of the many, many daughters is searching for the dog! Oh no, you’re saying something happened to R.I.P?! I’M SHOCKED!

IMPOSSIBLE.

While the Housewife and the Father discuss how every clock in the house stopped at exactly the same time, the daughter manages to find the dead dog, and we cut to Ed and Lorraine Warren’s home. “Yes, WE were the one to kill the dog! MWA HAH HAH HAH!”

Ed is showing our token black guy around his room of cursed artefacts. Annnnnnnd who wants to bet this scene will be pointless? I do, I do! We even get to see our old friend, the pointless doll, making this our own little microcosm of “who the fuck cares”!

Ed’s daughter (oh lord, not another one) wanders in halfway through, only to be hustled away by the nanny. “Now now, sweetie, what did I say about walking in to the room of pure Satan where touching anything can kill you? Bad daughter, very bad!”

Back at the house, they’ve buried R.I.P with her own little cross, and the household is fast asleep. But one of the daughters is having her blankets tugged over and over again. And also farting. Horror at it’s finest, ladies and gentlemen!

Downstairs, the Father wanders through the house and tries to build suspense, but lets face it, this movie couldn’t build suspense if it was using Lego bricks. The closest we get to a scare is when one of the daughters wanders downstairs to say one of the others is sleep walking in to a cabinet over and over again. Horror, or horrible slapstick? YOU DECIDE.

The next morning, after getting her to bed, the Father notices another bruise on the Housewife. So, apparently they’re going to need a better safeword on BDSM Night! (I’ve always been a fan of “pumpernickel”.)

The sexiest grain product.

Many of the daughters leave (I’ve lost track of them at this point, maybe some basic characterization would help?) for school, leaving the Housewife and the one who found the creepy music box. She says it can let you see the ghost in it’s reflection if you stare at it enough. Which, of COURSE, leads to a jump scare!

But not from a ghost, from the daughter turning the volume up on the movie and screaming to scare her. Oh, hah hah, so precocious! Go fuck yourself!

The daughter and Housewife start a game of Marco Polo… which leads to some trouble when the cabinet starts moving and clapping, instead of the daughter.

Huh.

When the Housewife takes her blindfold off and realizes what’s wrong, she’s understandably freaked out. So when the Father comes home from work, she starts getting cuddly with him, while the ghost tries to yank one of the daughters off her bed. Wow. What a dick.

The daughter becomes convinced that the ghost is standing behind the door, which nobody else, not even the audience, can see. Even after the rest of the family rushes in, nobody can see it, which makes her insistence that it threatened the rest of the family kind of weak.

“No, no, there totally was a ghost here! It also threatened you all if you didn’t get me ice cream!”

But, hey, what else would you do with a ghost?

At the Warren household, Lorraine is spending some time with her daughter while Ed looks on vaguely condescendingly. He’s trying to sneak off to go research another haunting, without his troubling “wife” along, but she ain’t having none of that! “Fuck my daughter, busting makes me feel good!”

They disprove that haunting in less time than it takes to write this sentence, while meanwhile, back at the house, the Housewife is covered in bruises and poppin’ pain killers like they’re Tic Tacs. She hears some noises of people walking around, and decides to investigate, instead of assuming “ghost bitches be crazy” and going to bed.

As though to emphasize that point, as well as “ghosts are powered by pettiness”, the ghost smashes every picture on the staircase. She sees somebody, and continues her quest of “looking at things”. She even tries to check the basement, and that goes bad in five… four… three… two… one…

And the door slams on her face, tossing her down the stairs! WHOOPS. She somehow remains perfectly calm about this, up until the ghost bounces a ball across the room, which is her cue to start freaking the fuck out! And, because ghosts are powered by pettiness, it blows out the only lightbulb down there! (It also gives her a wedgie.)

While she’s crawling around, with only one lit match for light, the pettiness continues when the ghost claps the match out. “Boo! Boo! Boo- HOLY HELL THAT FUCKING BURNS.”

Meanwhile, the daughter starts sleep walking in to the cabinet again, so the other daughter in the room helps her back to bed… but the cabinet keeps thumping back and forth by itself. Oh, fuck, Narnia done got pissed!

She walks up to it, while the sleep walking girl looks on in the creepiest way possible, until the ghost, currently perched on top of the cabinet, hops off for a surprise glomp!

“BOO.”

The Father finally gets home from work, only to find the entire household has gone utterly insane. He lets the housewife out, and frees the daughter from the tyranny of a hug by someone who doesn’t respect personal space, the horror!

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT TIME? WILL THE GHOST FINALLY DO SOMETHING ORIGINAL? WILL QUESTIONS BE ANSWERED, OR, FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY, WILL QUESTIONS BE ASKED? WILL THE PROTAGONISTS ACTUALLY HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE ACTUAL PLOT? AND, FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY, WILL I CARE?

Find out all that and more next time! Why am I doing that instead of finishing this movie now? Because the The Conjuring is so fucking ‘by the numbers’ that it’s putting me to sleep, that’s why! Horror by numbers, one, two, three, it’s eas-i-er to learn when you’re not bor-ing…

One Response to “Pulling Tedium Out Of A Hat: The Conjuring Review”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Thank Heaven For Little Boys: Insidious Review, Part One | A VERY STRANGE PLACE - January 5, 2014

    […] I realize where I’ve seen the father before! He’s one of the jackass ghostbusters in The Conjuring! So I guess if this review is cut short by technical difficulties, we’ll know what […]

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