I did not want to do this.
After all, I just this week (meaning Monday) got over the sense of creeped outedness (yes, this is a phrase) of “The Conjuring.” I saw the movie the weekend it came out, late at night and in an old timey movie theater in Oakland. I figured it would be nonsense, much like other ridiculous over-hyped horror movies including “Paranormal Activity,” “Dream House,” and the joke that was “Mama.”
I used to do a Scare Dare challenge every year for a while, and it seemed I would never again meet with goosebumps, other than the jolt I got from “Premonition,” “The Others” and some scenes in “The Ring.”
That, sirs and madams, was until I stepped my tail into “The Conjuring,” starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, and Lili Taylor. I am embarrassed to admit this, but people keep asking about the film, which is supposedly based on real events.
I hesitated to answer most Facebook and Twitter friends for fear of public mockery, but truth be told:
It is frightening.
It isn’t so much the second half, which is the “battling o’ said entities” that Hollywood rarely gets right. For me, it was the series of suggestions built up in the decidedly old school and effective plot development. It’s the notion that what we might think are poor, lost souls seeking salvation are actually demons conniving and endeavoring to possess us at every turn. It was the idea that items can “attach” to such monsters and be infiltrated by them, so that voo doo doll I received (and quickly) tossed while a sophomore in college is really somewhere waiting for me in an Evanston landfill, eyes aglow and fanged mouth agape.
And what truly shook me up was the sheer audacity of these shadow creatures, to snatch and grab and smash. The movie is filled, at first, with subtle suggestions that could easily be mistaken for something else. Old pipes make noise, don’t they? Birds sometimes fly into windows, so that isn’t necessarily a sign of the occult. But then the little bumps in the night soon build to a chair flung across a wall, shattering into splinters. The escalation itself, the sudden violence, may cause your stomach to clench in fear.
There is no moment that will make you run shrieking from the theater, unless you are truly faint of heart. But what it could do is slip stealthily into your subconscious. It may, for example, make you wonder a little harder if your clocks all stop at once. How about that shadow that might just be your tired eyes playing tricks on you? Or perhaps you’ll be more attuned to that series of thumps that sounds like it might be coming from the apartment above…
Maybe it is…maybe it’s not.
Did you hear it too?
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