zay’s review published on Letterboxd:
in 2013 James Wan saved modern horror with THE CONJURING
at the time this was “the film” I and several others talked about being what felt like the first “true horror film” after years of jumpscare schlock— of course today we’re hopefully all more equipped to talk about horror for the more multifaceted beast that it is— but I still attest that this remains a pivotal film not only in Wan’s career— but also in the history of horror itself: I really feel like it’s gonna be looked back upon with reverence
as it should!
what we have here is just an endlessly amazing haunted house flick— some solid scares of all different types, a thematic undercurrent on how real-life demonic possessions are intertwined with the lower class and what that means for their systemic subjugation, and two of the best horror protagonists of all time in Ed and Lorraine Warren— I love just about every fuckin’ thing in this movie
my only real fault with it’s that it’s almost a bit too ambitious— Wan has a lotta things he cares about and here he tries to fit all of ‘em in without truly have a grasp on what that entails— he attempts to strike a balance between horrifying scares and sympathetic familial drama— and unfortunately things are weighed a bit too much toward the latter— made all the more unfortunate given the family is one I’ve struggled time and time again to get truly invested in to no avail
but don’t get me wrong— the scares that are here are really fuckin’ good— from Wan’s manipulation of audience expectations to create this insanely intense self-generated fear over things that aren’t even shown to the entire finale that’s just a masterpiece of possession horror
THE CONJURING is more than worthy of its iconic status— it just isn’t quite as good as it could’ve been: that film would be THE CONJURING 2!