Director James Wan loves old school chills and thrills, and he has used them for maximum impact in films like Dead Silence, Insidious and The Conjuring, which arrived recently on Blu-ray and DVD. He’s so good at it he doesn’t need large budgets or crazy waves of digital effects to make you shriek and squirm in your seat. He understands that often what is most scary is that which is not seen but implied.
Here are ten things I learned about Wan and the supernatural while watching the uber-creepy The Conjuring.
2. It turns out that some ghosts like to play hide-and-clap. That could make for a very frustrating afternoon if they keep leading you around the house.
3. While slow zooms may seem very ’70s — and hey, that’s when this story takes place — they’re still really spooky when combined with ominous drone music.
4. Don’t move into a house with a large armoire that’s been left behind. In fact, don’t buy one and then move into a big, old house. It won’t provide a gateway to Narnia.
5. If your spouse or significant other suddenly sports unexplained bruises, don’t assume hanky-panky is going on.
It may be a malevolent ghostie. And then we’re talking a different sort of hanky-panky.
6. Ed and Lorraine Warren were paranormal trailblazers who predated all the ghost hunting nonsense we have on TV today. At least their experiences will scare the hell out of you.
7. Co-star Ron Livingston would probably have preferred to perform an exorcism on his boss from Office Space rather than the nasty entity in The Conjuring. It would have been so much easier.
8. I’m a supernatural skeptic, but I’m way more prone to believing something paranormal caught on film 40 years ago than today, when it is easy to digitally manipulate everything. Watching scenes in The Conjuring where the Warrens show personal films to college students reaffirmed that notion for me.
9. The Warrens collected possessed objects from various supernatural cases and stored them in a locked room in their house. The same house where their daughter lived with them. At least the artifact hunters in Friday The 13th: The Series kept them locked in a vault, away from the prying eyes and hands of children who don’t know when to stay away!
10. Things don’t stay quiet in a James Wan spook fest for long. There is always something that goes THUMP in the night. Or day. Which is why you’ll feel jittery in your creaky old house or apartment after you watch one of his movies.