To begin, I want to first say that this post will contain spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie and you are interested, best read this after that. Another note, it takes a lot to scare me when it comes to movies. However, I am going to take a look at this movie not by how scaring it is (which it’s not really to be honest) but more of the structure on story and acting.
And to begin….
The movie begins with a bit of some background information on Ed (played by Patrick Wilson, you may remember him from Insidious Chapter 1) and Lorraine Warren (played by Vera Farmiga, known for Source Code and Bates Motel on AMC) the true paranormal investigators. This movie is based off some of the files and investigations that the couple performed. And lets face it, being based off true facts always makes a movie much more interesting (and if you’re not me, more scary).
Ed and Lorraine are called to an apartment about a doll that is supposedly haunted. Lorraine is blessed with the ability to see the dead souls trapped here on Earth. Her husband, Ed is a priest (not sure if that’s the right term or not) and he is also the only recognized paranormal investigator by the Catholic Church. These two quickly realize that the doll isn’t haunted, but it’s the soul attached to the doll that is trying it best to keep the people it’s staying with around. The couple takes the doll home, to their locked room where they keep objects from investigations that have souls attached to them (or were part of the haunting).
SIDE-NOTE: First I want to say from someone who truly believes in this stuff, that room is VERY dangerous. No way in hell should you keep objects that have souls attached to them, and especially not in one room. That’s a lot of possible negative energy.
Anyway, we come to an old farmhouse, in the middle of nowhere (setting the mood already). We are introduced to a young family, Carolyn (played by Lili Taylor) and Roger (played by Ron Livingston) Perron with 5 girls (take a moment to feel bad for the Dad). They bought the farmhouse unaware of the issues that the previous owners had. It need some work but they look at it with a fresh start. And all seems to be going well, until they discover a blocked off cellar under the staircase. This is where the problems start.
By opening this room, they have let out the trapped souls. Also, the youngest daughter (April played be Kyla Deaver) has suddenly found an imaginary friend (or so the parents believe). It is soon after she finds this:
After you play the music box, you are given the ability to see the young boy it used to belong too in the mirror at the top (that is Lorraine holding it, not the youngest daughter). Soon however, Carolyn starts to see some serious bruising and the second youngest (Cindy played by Mackenzie Foy from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2) begins to be sleep walking. All seems to be quite innocent and you could determine it was just the change of scenery causing it. But lets not forget, this is supposed to be a scary movie? So of course, there is more going on. Soon however, the girls that share a room (Christine played by Joey King and Nancy played by Hayley McFarland) start to have interactions and scary. The entire family soon becomes terrified of what is going on the house.
Carolyn learns of a speech at a local college that Ed and Lorraine are doing and goes to them for help. She informs them of what is going on and if there is anyway they can help. Ed and Lorraine decide to go over and see what is going on. From the moment Lorraine enters the house, you feel a tense feeling coming from her. Soon they realize that it isn’t something that can just fact away, that the house is indeed haunted and they need proof in order to have an exorcism performed on the place.
This begins with a long hunt for proof. But all the while. Lorraine is seeing the spirits trapped and trying to learn how what happened.
They soon learn about a witch that killed her children and then herself, and she cursed the place too. No family could live happily there. They also learn about unexplained deaths in the area around the farm. Soon however, things go from bad to worse. They start encountering every single soul that has been in the house and died. They meet other spirits that try to warn them away, that the house is dangerous (even a warning at the Warren’s own house). The spirit clearly wants them gone.
However, it’s not that easy. Soon it becomes clear that the reason Cindy is suddenly sleep walking again is that the little boy who died in the previous family, is trying to protect her from the witch. And that Carolyn is bruising and having issues sleeping because the witch is trying to control her and make her commit the same crime that she and all the other families did.
Ed and Lorraine talk the family into leaving the house. They need to wait on the approval of the Church to perform the exorcism and they hope this will banish the spirit away. But lets not forget, this is a scary movie and soon it becomes learn that Carolyn is too far gone and that the witch has control of her. She takes the two youngest girls, Cindy and April back to the house. It’s time to finish the crime and then take her own life.
Roger, Ed, Lorraine, Drew (played by Shannon Kook) and the local sheriff in town (Brad played by John Brotherton) head back to the house. The locate the children and Carolyn. They are forced to perform the exorcism themselves and in the end, they do save Carolyn. However, the house needs a stronger cleanse, which does happen a few months after this movie done. Ed and Lorraine take the music box and lock it up with all of the other trinkets in the room. And all is well….wait for it, the music box starts playing. I mean, how else would you end a scary movie?
Overall, this movie isn’t really scaring, it’s more creepy. There are few moments where you are meant to jump but honestly, they just didn’t do it for me. However, in the theater by best friend and others watching did jump at these points. And oh my goodness when the “spirits” scream, it’s ear-piercing loud. Take that as a warning.
I would give this movie a 7 out of 10 stars. The storyline is good and the acting is pretty much spot on, however a few of the so called “surprise information moments” aren’t really that surprising. The reactions are clear and the so called spirits that are warning them of what the house will do are just obvious. Of course there are good spirits in the house. They want to help, there is always one.
Other than that, I enjoyed the movie. The creepy factor alone makes if worth seeing.