Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Immersed in Movies: James Wan and Vera Farmiga Talk '70s-Set Paranormal Frightener 'The Conjuring'; Sequel in Works (VIDEO)

Photo of Bill Desowitz By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood July 16, 2013 at 1:59PM

"The Conjuring" proves that you don't have to indulge in torture porn to be scary. In fact, the well-crafted throwback is a family drama driven by horror. It's a true life story from 1971 about a family tormented by spirits in its secluded Rhode Island farmhouse, and how renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) came to their rescue.
0
Vera Farmiga in "The Conjuring"
Vera Farmiga in "The Conjuring"

"The Conjuring" proves that you don't have to indulge in torture porn to be scary. In fact, the well-crafted throwback is a family drama driven by horror. It's a true life story from 1971 about a family tormented by spirits in their secluded Rhode Island farmhouse, and how renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) come to their rescue. As the film has already scored at festivals with audiences and critics, New Line is wasting no time in developing a franchise; they're already combing the Warren files for another famous case to make. (See trailer and featurette below.)

For director James Wan ("Insidious," "Saw"), it represents a back-to-basics horror swan song before segueing to "Fast & Furious 7." And for Farmiga ("Bates Motel"), it's an opportunity to step out of her comfort zone as the flamboyant clairvoyant.

"There was a big part of me that wanted to show that there are many ways of scaring people without throwing out buckets of blood," Wan admits. "With 'The Conjuring,' besides setting it back in the '70s, I wanted to capture that time period, not just in the photography, the production design, and the wardrobe and hair, but the sensibility as well."

Wan has always been fascinated by the Warrens, who later became associated with the more notorious Amityville case. They were soul mates dedicated to helping families torn apart by supernatural occurrences.

James Wan
James Wan

Wan also liked making a studio film because he no longer had to cut corners. He recalls that he had to resort to a flashy MTV style with "Saw" because he only had time to get a few camera moves. There were moments when the movie didn't cut at all, so he was forced to experiment with still photography as rough bridges, but obviously the energy and visual language worked beyond his wildest expectations.

"Usually when you do an indie film, you give up a real budget so you can get creative control to make the movie you want," Wan adds. "But sometimes that's a contradiction because the movie you want costs time and money to shoot it. And so what was great with 'The Conjuring' was not only did New Line let me make the movie I wanted to make but I also had the financial support and time.

"That allowed me to compose my scenes the way I wanted to shoot them, and have the tools at my disposal to do my camera work, spend time and money building sets. And the extra time meant I could spend more time with the actors. And I needed time to work with six kids."

Although he was surprised at the R-rating, after viewing "The Conjuring" at the recent LA Film Festival, he now understands why it was too frightening to get a PG-13 yet still wants teenagers to see it because of its thematic importance about two families pulling together.

This article is related to: The Conjuring, James Wan, Vera Farmiga, Immersed In Movies


E-Mail Updates