In the first real surprise of the weekend, The Conjuring came out of nowhere to stun the audience that packed the Anaheim Convention Center arena (WonderCon Anaheim’s Hall H) who had settled in early to catch new footage of Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim.
To say that it had an effect on the audience is an understatement. The room repeatedly filled with nervous giggles, gasps, people shouting at the screen, imploring the characters to stay away from what we knew as a malicious force, and of course, lots of screams.
Based on actual events, The Conjuring brought not the actors to the panel, but some of the people who were a part of this horrifying experience, set in the 60s and 70s.
Lorraine Warren, a paranormal investigator who, along with her colleagues, responded to these incidents and is also known for looking into the more famous Amityville Horror hauntings, said that the film was very faithful to the events that they had experienced back then.
Director James Wan spoke on the perception of that some may have regarding yet another horror story based on supposedly “true events”.
“We’re all pretty cynical when another movie says that it’s based on a true story. We tend to just roll our eyes and say it’s a marketing gimmick. But in this case, it was the only reason why I wanted to make this film. I really don’t have anything else to prove in this genre, but the chance to tell this story about these people I became really fascinated by and really fell in love with is what really made me want to make this film. Given the chance to do it, I wanted to do it right. One of the things I thought was amazing was this family, what they went through, was terrifying. But what I loved was just the bond of the family, the family unity that kept them through all of this.”
Oddly, there is nothing explicit about this horror film. Mostly everything is suggested. There is no gore or nudity or intense violence. Yet the film got an R rating from the MPAA, which surprised them. They had intended to make a PG-13 movie, as it wasn’t going to be about explicit gore or grossing the audience out. The movie is about real scares and telling what happened in that house. When they asked the MPAA why it got an R rating, they came back saying that “it was just too scary”. When pushed, the MPAA admitted that there were no specific moments or scenes that they could take out of the film to get a PG-13. It was just too scary regardless for certain audiences.
James Wan his take on the ratings controversy, “It’s a testament to the studio for not fucking with the film. They realized that this movie works and they’re sticking to it and I’m very thankful for that.”
It’s something that this viewer and the thousands of others in that arena can attest to. With very little to no visual effects, the scares are created out of the darkest corners of the shadows in any room and the strange noises that fill a house at night. Only these were something truly otherworldly. Beautifully shot, the Conjuring promises real scares, not oceans of blood.
Don’t let the classic rock music employed in this quick cut trailer above fool you. When left to roll out at their intended speed as we saw today, without any distracting music to lighten the mood, these goose bump making moments will have you holding your breath until the next scare. Never has the simple act of clapping your hands felt so terrifying.
Check the shadows for The Conjuring July 19th, 2013.