A family of five move into an old farmhouse in 1971 only to discover it is haunted by a spirit of an evil witch and the ghosts of those that fell victim to her. It is only with the help of two paranormal researchers they are able to defend their family from the murderous ghost witch. The parents are played by Ron Livingston (Office Space) and Lili Taylor (The Haunting), with the paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren played by Patrick Wilson (Insidious) and Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel TV series).
This movie was a roller coaster for me. I had high hopes going into it because it was from the same director of Saw and Insidious, both movies I thoroughly enjoyed, but then it was starring two of the most boring actors imaginable. I mean, you have the main character from Office Space, who in my opinion is just dull in everything he plays in, and then you have his wife played by the main character from The Haunting, which was one of the most boring horror movies ever created. She has such a blank expression in nearly every situation and always speaks in a soft mumble. BUT the casting for Ed and Lorraine Warren was spot on. They really keep your attention. It’s exciting to see them work because you can tell they get very involved in their characters. This casting might have been done on purpose in order to make the “farm family” couple seem more flat in comparison to the Warrens so it creates a sense of realism, but in my opinion every character in a movie should be believable. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Enduring the slow build-up of the plot wasn’t easy, if I’m honest, but the pay-off made it worth it. When we finally see the ghost of the witch, she’s floating around by a noose in mid air. In one scene, Lorraine Warren is standing next to a tree and we just see the feet of the ghost witch swaying back and forth next to her. That scene was one of the coolest and creepiest in the film. I would have preferred if she were stuck in that “floating, hanging” position throughout the film instead of only occasionally. To me, it would have made her character even creepier. I also liked the fact that the characters had to look in a tiny mirror in order to see the ghosts, which meant the ghost had to be standing behind you in order for you to see it. How scary is that? I loved that; it was such a great idea. Some might find it gimmicky, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
When the film first came out, not knowing it was going to start a horror franchise, I thought it was just another ghost-possession movie. I left the theater thinking, “Well, that was okay,” but I never thought I’d see a sequel, let alone spin-off movies of other characters. There’s something about knowing that this is the start of a whole horror movie universe that centers around Ed and Lorraine Warren that makes it that much cooler in my opinion – like Batman Begins. The first Batman in Nolan’s trilogy was okay, but knowing it was just the origin for what became the greatest Batman trilogy ever made makes it 100 times better. This movie starts with the origins of Annabelle, which went on to have its own movie and sequel coming out later this year. I like the idea of a director listening to his audience pick out little things they thought were cool in his movie, and him taking that and saying, “Okay, I’ll make a movie about that.” Come on, we’re horror fans – we live for sequels.
This movie is…
Oh, and by the way – this was based on a true story.
Cheers and goodnight.