Movie Review: The Conjuring (2013)

And the Month of Spooks marches on! So what type of horrible horror is on the table tonight? Another haunting? Cool.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Conjuring”.

Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) are a couple who happen to be paranormal investigators. And one day they get called in to try to help a family who claim to be haunted by some dark/evil presence. So now we have our haunted family/house/person/thing story. And I use that quick description of it because there’s a lot of familiar elements to it. A good amount of the beats throughout we know from various other movies, so it doesn’t bring a lot new to the table. That said, it does these things quite well. The plot here is creepy and tense, and I was invested in it from start to finish. Not saying that it’s perfect, but it’s definitely good.

For the most part I found myself invested in the characters here. They were interesting and decently likable. Patrick Wilson plays Ed Warren, one of the two who go to investigate this creepy situation. He’s a bit reluctant to do it based on something that happened in the past, and he’s given a good amount of development in this movie. And Wilson is great in the movie. Vera Farmiga plays Lorraine Warren, wife of Ed, and fellow investigator. She’s a fairly well developed character as well, which includes the same past situation as her husband. I also like her because she’s determined and decently tough without coming off like a thundering dumbass. They make her strong but vulnerable. And Farmiga is great in the role. Lili Taylor plays Carolyn, the mother of the family that is having haunting problems. She goes through some interesting stuff in this movie that makes her a pretty interesting character. And Taylor is great in the role. Then we have Ron Livingston as Roger, the father of the family. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with Livingston’s performance (it’s actually quite good), I found his character kind of lackluster. He’s supposed to be an important part of this, but his character feels underdeveloped compared to everyone else. And to not drag out this bit too much: All the kids in this movie do a good job. There, this is a well acted movie. Moving on!

The score for the movie was composed by Joseph Bishara and it was great. It was droning, creepy, eerie, chilling, and just overall worked quite well for the movie, often elevating the suspense of various scenes. There were also a couple of licensed tracks used in the movie that worked pretty well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by James Wan (making his second appearance this Month of Spooks) and I thought he did a great job. He does a lot with very little, building a lot of suspense with very few things. Really, the suspense/tension really builds throughout the movie, and any scares that pop up feel earned. I also want to mention that this movie is rated R. “How is that interesting?” I hear you ask. Let me explain. Cursing? Almost none. Sex/Nudity? Mildly implied, but never shown. Blood/gore? Minimal. This is rated R based purely on how scary it is… not gonna lie, that is pretty fucking cool.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“The Conjuring” is a pretty damn good horror movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great direction. My only flaws with it (which are fairly minor) are that the beats of the movie feel very familiar, and Ron Livingston’s character feeling underdeveloped. Time for my final score. *BOO!*. My final score for “The Conjuring” is a 9,01/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it is definitely worth buying.

My review of “The Conjuring” is now completed.

There were several occurrences of 70s lingo in this and it makes me so happy.

Series Review: Fargo – Season 1 (2014)

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Anthology series, a concept I find very curious. The idea of it is really ingenius; every season features new stories and new characters which gives the writers of the shows a lot of creative freedom when it comes to the show. And it seems a lot of shows these days are embracing that style of stroytelling which makes me curious to see what the next trend in television will be.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first season of… “Fargo”.

Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) is a mysterious drifter who one day comes into a small town in Minnesota. Early on during his time there he meets an insurance salesman named Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) and they start getting acquainted. However is seems like Malvo is influencing Lester in a pretty bad way. And by pretty bad way I mean that he influences Lester to murder someone. And from that we also follow two police officers (Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman) who are trying to solve these murders that start occuring. And with that said I will not try to explain anymore of it because that would be delving into spoiler territory and I don’t do spoilers unless there is something specific I want to talk about in something. But I have to say that I was intrigued by the plot in the show and I loved how it developed over the ten episodes that this story covers. We get some good twists and revelations throughout combined with a lot of good suspense and a surprising amount of dark humor. And that mix of things make for an interesting plot to watch unfold.

The characters in the show are all very colorful, quirky, interesting and well written. Martin Freeman nails it as Lester, out reluctant anti-hero. I say “anti-hero” because he does some shady shit and hides some bad secrets in this show. And Freeman does all of that pretty damn well. Billy Bob Thornton was great in the role as mysterious and devious Malvo. It’s so great that he still got it in him to give a great performance like this because he has kind of been off the radar for the past 10(ish) years. Colin Hanks (son of Tom Hanks) is great in the role as police officer Gus Grimly, a man who wants to solve these terrible crimes while also taking care of his daughter. Allison Tolman is amazing in the role as the determined police officer Molly Solverson. Really, she was great… someone I will keep my eye on now. Also, her dad is played by Keith Carradine and that’s just awesome. Eveyr actor does in fact do great work in this show and trust me when I sya that there are a lot of big names in here. Hell, even Key & Peele make appearances in the show (And yes, they are a bucket of fun).

The score for the show was provided by Jeff Russo and holy hell was it ever great. It was heavy and very dramatic but could also be a little lighter when it needed to be. And I have to say that the series main theme (Sidenote: The title of it is “Bemidji, MN”) is honestly one of the best main theme songs I have ever heard. It’s dramatic, it’s dark and it is just straight-up beauitful. The entire score I honestly think is nothing short of great.

Whenever I watched this show I felt cold. Not because it’s dark and depressing like “Requiem For a Dream”, but because they are in the middle of snow-covered Minnesota and it all looks very cold. Sure, it’s kind of the same weather here in Sweden atthe moment of writing this, but it still looks really cold. And I feel like the director(s?) captured it all really well. They captured everything very well because everything in this show is very well directed. Everything’s also really violent. A lot of blood and brutality is shown in the show and I kind of feel like that adds to the charm of it. But I also mention it as a fair warning if you hate violence and/or you get queasy easily… kind of like Bob Odenkirk’s character in the show. The show is also really funny in a very dark way. And I guess that is something the writers of the show did to try to capture the feel of a Coen brothers movie. And for those of you who didn’t understand that reference, this show is based on the Coen brothers movie of the same name and that’s why I said that they seemed like they tried to capture the feel of a Coen movie… A.K.A. darkly comical but still suspenseful.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes the season has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And while imdb.com doesn’t have average scores per season, the show still has a score of 9,0/10 and is ranked #25 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

I’m not gonna lie to you guys, I was surprised by the high quality of this show. The story is great, the characters are great & the acting is great, the music is great, the directing is great and there is a lot of great humor. It’s just a great season. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for season 1 of “Fargo” is a 9,88/10. It most definitely gets the one and only “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of the first season of “Fargo” is now completed.

Oh jeez.