The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 112 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lily Taylor, Ron Livingston, Joey King
Directed by: James Wan
Music by: Joseph Bishara
Written by: Chad Hayes & Carey W. Hayes
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 22, 2013
Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. “The Conjuring” tells the true story of world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) who were called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most horrifying case of their lives.
It’s funny but it seems like there are many people that simply don’t watch horror films. When I bring up the subject of any particular scary flick I get “I don’t like or I don’t watch scary movies”. That of course isn’t everyone but it’s more than you think. The reason for this regardless of what people say is that they simply don’t like the feeling of anxiety, suspense and consternation brought on by watching them. For me some of that is true as well but it really depends on the type of horror the film employs. Horror that works on you psychologically combined with things that go bump in the night followed by foreboding dread is the kind of stuff that in my opinion makes for the best hair raising movies.
The Conjuring is just such a movie. Supposedly based on the case files of real life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren this is an old school haunted house chiller that is sure to get the adrenaline pumping. The primary story takes place in the early 1970’s with the Perron family, husband Roger, wife Carolyn and their five daughters moving into a 1700’s house with an (unknown to them) dark past. Prior to that, the opening sequence introduces the Warrens via a case involving a “possessed” (and very creepy) doll belonging to two college girls. From that we see that the Warrens are experienced and have not only an understanding of what is out there but a respect for it as well. After a series of unexplained and frightening encounters with “something” in their new home The Perrons turn to the Warrens for help. With the Warrens now in the picture the events begin to escalate as the evil that surrounds them reveals its purpose.
The Conjuring is throwback style horror that is good scary fun. You probably won’t feel that way while watching because it does a great job of building eerie tension using both visual and audio cues for the setup then following with the reveal. Mind you there is probably nothing here that we haven’t seen before but the execution which is aided by effective use of lighting and camera work is quite good. The script is solid as well and eschews the typical elements of one victim seeing/hearing things then trying to convince everyone else that they are not crazy. What you get here is more like The Amityville Horror although there is a bit more of a twist especially once you find out more about the house’s past.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Conjuring. It’s not the scariest horror film I have seen but it effectively maximizes its thematic elements which on several occasions raised the hairs on the back of my neck. Hey, you can’t ask for more than that…
The rating is for sequences of disturbing violence and terror.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Conjuring comes to Blu-ray from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3 Mbps.
This film’s visual style doesn’t lend itself to eye catching color or infinite levels of dimension but this is a creative decision that doesn’t reflect negatively on its presentation. Resolution is excellent with clearly rendered images that exhibit refined levels of detail during close ups and discernible depth of field in wide angle shots. The filtered chromatic range is purposefully limited to muted primary colors and softer secondary hues. That coupled with the drab lighting schemes and dark cinematography makes for a visually pallid but thematically affecting look. Skin tones among the cast vary and range from Rosy to pale while appearing textural and predominantly lifelike. Blacks are deep and dynamic and shadow detail is excellent. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts in this whistle clean high definition presentation that looks terrific.
The 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is excellent and truly enhances the film’s overall presentation. This is a dynamically gratifying surround mix that features high level detail, superlative clarity, and rich, room filling surround sound. This is sophisticated sound design that incorporates a vast number of sound effects that are intricately mixed to engage the listening position. Spot on imaging and channel separation draw out both large and small sounds and allow their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable within the room’s acoustic boundaries. This is not an ostentatious audio presentation but it offers engaging bass extension that produces smooth, palpably rich low frequencies that energize the room. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity. End to end this is an attention grabbing home theater presentation that plays perfectly to this film’s thematic content. Crank it up and enjoy!
- (HD) The Conjuring: Face to face with terror – 6 minute featurette
- (HD) A life in demonology – 15 minute documentary
- (HD) Scaring the #%*&@ out of you – 8 minute featurette
- Bonus DVD
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Based on the case files of real life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren The Conjuring is a multifaceted throwback style horror flick that is well executed and excellent hair raising fun. It comes to Blu-ray disc featuring a top notch high definition audio/video presentation and a noticeably light supplemental package that is worth checking out. The Conjuring is an effective and chilling genre entry that deserves a spot at the very top of your rental queue. If you’re already a fan, feel free to add this Blu-ray release from Warner Home Video to your collection.
Here is the trailer:
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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
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