MOVIE REVIEW: THE CONJURING (2013)

Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor
Director: James Wan

The Conjuring is based on actual events. In 1971, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were called to the Perron family’s farmhouse to look into some recent ghostly shenanigans. In 1976, years after their work with the Perron farmhouse was completed, the Warrens became involved in their most famous case- the Amityville haunting.

Back to this movie. It’s pretty darn creepy, and the movie constantly amps up your anxiety level as it prepares you for the thrills. It’s probably not the best idea to watch it alone, so grab a friend.

Take a close look at the poster below and you’ll see a treat.

The Conjuring 2013

Picture it.

1971. Harrisville, Rhode Island. Roger and Carolyn Perron (Livingston and Taylor, respectively) move into a huge and creaky old home with their 5 daughters and their dog Sadie. Sadie wants no part of this house, but of course no one listens to a dog.

There’s the smell of rotting flesh that drifts between the rooms of the house, there’s a hidden stairwell that the family accidentally stumbles across, and Mom and a couple of the daughters have their own face to face experiences with whatever is haunting their home.

And that’s just the beginning. It gets even better (or worse, for all of you scaredy cats) from there.

Slow and steady wins the race.

There’s no gore or cheap thrills in this movie. Director James Wan deliberately takes his time setting up the pieces of the puzzle, and he does this primarily through Ed and Lorraine Warren (Wilson and Farmiga respectively). Ed is a self described demonologist and Lorraine is a clairvoyant, and Wan uses these characters to amp up the anxiety levels and keep you gripping the armrests until the end of the movie.

Have you seen this before?

Some critics have slammed the movie because they believe it’s reminiscent of The Exorcist, Poltergeist, and The Amityville Horror. I’ll admit this movie isn’t incredibly original and it hasn’t added anything new to the horror genre. However, it is a fresh departure from the gore-fests that studios are pumping out now. This is a solid movie, and I recommend it to all fans of the genre.

Should you go see it?

If you avoid scary movies go ahead and skip this one. Otherwise feel free to catch this at the theater! Gotta watch this one on the big screen!


MOVIE REVIEW: THE CALL (2013)

Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Cast: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Michael Ecklund, Morris Chestnut, David Otunga
Director: Brad Anderson

I was iffy about watching this movie. A 911 operator who decides to take the law into her hands? It just didn’t make sense to me.

The Call 2013

Quick summary:

Jordan (Berry) is a seasoned 911 operator who takes a frantic call from a young teen named Casey (Breslin). She’s been kidnapped by a psychotic loser named Michael Foster (Ecklund), and Jordan decides to do whatever is needed to save Casey.

Strong beginning

I’d say the first hour of the movie is pretty damn good. The storyline is a bit thin and easy to digest, but Berry makes a strong effort to create a character that is likeable and has some depth. There are plenty of chances to over-act, and I think alot of actresses would have wild eyes and shrill voices as the Jordan character tries to help the kidnapped teen. Berry did a good job of matching the intensity of the storyline without going overboard.

Aren’t you supposed to hate the bad guy?

Michael Foster is such a hapless idiot that I started to feel sorry for him. I’ve never kidnapped someone before, but I wanted to pull him to the side and give him some pointers so he wouldn’t look so stupid. If you have a girl in your trunk you’re supposed to act cool about it. Don’t visibly freak out or raise your voice in an unnatural way any time someone  innocently glances your way.

The last half hour of the movie decides to focus on Foster and this is where the movie instantly tanks. We learn some backstory about him and his life of crime, but after seeing him make so many dumb mistakes throughout the movie I really didn’t care about ‘how’ and ‘why’ he has become a kidnapper.

Final verdict

Since the last act of the movie is so terrible I’d suggest skipping this one. Trust me, no one will ever say to you, “What? You haven’t seen The Call?! It’s such a good movie!”

If you saw The Call, did you regret it? Let me know!


MOVIE REVIEW: THE POKER HOUSE (2008)

Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Selma Blair, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sophi Bairley
Director: Lori Petty

2008’s The Poker House was Jennifer Lawrence’s first leading role, and she nailed it. Usually I fangirl pretty hard for Jennifer but I will keep it at a minimum for this review.

The Poker House 2008

Picture it

Iowa. 1976. Agnes (Lawrence) is 14 years old with two younger sisters, Bee (Bairley) and Cammie (Moretz). Her mother Sarah (Blair) is a drugged-out hooker, and Sarah’s pimp Duval (Woodbine) invites all kinds of low-lifes to gamble and have sex in Sarah’s home.

Is there a plot? Not really.

This movie may frustrate some people who want to experience a strong plot or conflict. This movie plays out as ‘A Day in the Life of Agnes.’ Some scenes feel very lazy and insignificant, and I notice this seems to happen when the movie focuses on Cammie and Bee. Agnes kicks them out of the house repeatedly so they won’t have to see Sarah using drugs and flirting with her johns. The bulk of the dramatic scenes center around Agnes as she takes in her surroundings.

A strong trio

Jennifer Lawrence, Selma Blair, and Bokeem Woodbine all carry this movie, and I felt sadness, anger, and disbelief every time I watched them together. Duval is the ultimate creep, and his intentions throughout the movie are very clear. The horrible mother-daughter relationship between Sarah and Agnes was interesting, because in most movies the daughter will rise to the occasion and be a mother to her own mom, but in this movie we are sorely reminded that Agnes is only 14 and she is very naive about certain things.

Is it worth watching?

I found this movie on Hulu, and I’m certain Jennifer Lawrence fans will enjoy her performance. You can see how this role prepared her for Ree Dolly in Winter’s Bone. 

If you watched The Poker House let me know what you thought about it!