Those familiar with the motion picture works of 36-year-old filmmaker James Wan would expect nothing less than constant thrill, suspense. After all, he directed the likes of “Saw” and “Insidious.” But Wan’s latest endeavor, "The Conjuring," takes writers Carey and Chad Hayes’ script and tells a terrifying visual story -- one that is told through an entirely new understanding of paranormal phenomenon.
How? Consider that even for people of faith -- who may traditionally avoid horror flicks that center on the spiritual -- there's a message.
The film, which comes to theaters Friday, tells the story of real-life paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). It focuses on the particular case of the 1970s Perron family haunting in Rhode Island. (You may recall that TheBlaze recently interviewed the Hayes brothers about the film, its spiritual inspiration and the accuracy of the claim that it's based on true events.)
Wan’s latest work includes the usual panning camera -- that technique that makes you feel like the characters are being followed or watched-- gravity-defying effects and calculated timing that balances lingering moments with adrenaline-pumping action. But it’s the plot that the Hayes twins, 52, envisioned and brought to life that makes this film unlike others in its genre (the “Paranormal Activity” films, for example). The Hayes’ intention to make the centrality of faith a key theme was unmistakable.
The movie holds a certain authenticity, which can be attributed to a great cast of talented actors. But part of this lies in the portrayal of the Warrens. They’re not your typical, superstitious diviners. The couple are depicted as relatively normal, save their unconventional gifts (Ed is a demonologist, and Lorraine is a clairvoyant).
At the start of the film, Lorraine tells her husband, “You said that God brought us together for a reason,” a theme that proves more and more evident with the movie’s progression.
The Perron family, not particularly spiritual themselves, reaches out to the Catholic Warrens after a series of haunting encounters in their new home. From the start, it is clear that the Perrons are unfamiliar with any of the religious diction used to describe their supernatural experiences.
As the Warrens track the three stages of haunting (infestation, oppression, possession), the gravity of the Perron’s circumstance becomes plain. The family is especially vulnerable to demonic activity because the Perrons are not people of faith, and the fact that the Warrens are Christians means that they would pose a threat to evil forces seeking claim over the family.
Ed and Lorraine exemplify husband and wife teamwork and impenetrable courage that adds an element most modern horror films leave out: hope.
Make no mistake, “The Conjuring” is terrifying, and judging by the tweets already circulating, it is one of the scariest movies of 2013 -- not for the faint of heart or spirit. Viewers are cautioned to used discernment, paying attention to the rating (R, in case you were wondering) and weighty nature of the film.
Those who do venture to watch it, particularly people of faith, might find the movie to be affirming of the Christian belief regarding spiritual warfare and the ability of righteousness to overpower inferior, though persistent, forces of darkness.
It might even lead some to sharpen their understanding of the spiritual realm, not to incite paranoia, but to create awareness concerning supernatural strife. If this is the case, the Hayes twins achieved their goal.
Father Claude Burns joined us on the BlazeCast, along with TheBlaze writer Billy Hallowell and editor-in-chief Scott Baker, to talk about the theological implications of "The Conjuring":
Featured Image Credit: IMDB