The Conjuring: See an exclusive clip from the DVD extras....
'Based on a true story'
James Wan has directed some pretty scary films in his career – this is the man who brought us Saw, after all – but when any horror film uses the words ‘based on a true story’, an extra layer of freakiness is added to proceedings. So how true to actual events is The Conjuring?
Costing a relatively modest $20 million to make, The Conjuring is one of the more unlikely success stories of this year, raking in over $41 million in its first weekend alone and with worldwide figures now exceeding £316 million. The film stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as paranormal investigators Ed & Lorraine Warren, who are called in to investigate some strange happenings at a farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island, where the Perron family have recently moved in. Carolyn & Roger Perron (played by Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) begin to suspect all is not as it should be when their dog dies suddenly and the youngest of their five children complains that someone – or something – is pulling her feet in the middle of the night.
The Warrens discover that the site was previously owned by a witch named Bathsheba who, as legend has it, put a curse on the land and killed herself after being discovered sacrificing a child. Pretty freaky stuff, but the story the film is based on is even stranger and you can see an exclusive clip for the DVD extras at the bottom of the page.
So what happened?
First of all, the real-life Warrens have previous form with Hollywood’s haunted houses; they were the investigators at George and Kathy Lutz’s house in Amityville, New York – the basis for both the 1979 and 2005 films The Amityville Horror.
Then there’s the doll, Annabelle. In the film, one of the daughters and her roommate realise that the doll is able to move by itself. Spooked, they throw the doll away, only for it to reappear in the room later. In real life, Ed Warren claimed that the Annabelle doll actually killed a young boy after he dared her to “do her worst.”
Sceptics may find the premise of the film and the story it is based on a little far-fetched. The Amityville case in particular has been the subject of numerous accusations that the whole story was a hoax dreamed up by George and Kathy Lutz and William Weber, the defence lawyer for Ronald Defeo Jr., who committed the murders detailed in Jay Anson’s book and both subsequent films. It is likely that the non-believers will be just as unconvinced by the story behind The Conjuring.
For those who are inclined to believe in the paranormal however, there is plenty to be freaked out about. The film is a well-executed portrayal of the story and has the full support of the Perrons as well as Lorraine Warren (Ed having passed away in 2006). James Wan is a reliable pair of hands when it comes to horror and he is assisted by some great performances, particularly from the young Kyla Deaver as youngest daughter April. If you are a fan of films like The Exorcist and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, this should be an enjoyable watch.
The Conjuring is available in-store on DVD & Blu-ray from December 9th