"The Conjuring" is expected to better the supernatural buddy-cop flick "R.I.P.D.," which with its estimated $130 million price tag cost more than six times as much (ouch).
So how does that work? What makes for a (relatively speaking) little-scary-movie-that-could?
Based on a real-life couple, "The Conjuring" stars
The review in the Los Angeles Times by
Here are five ways the film capitalized on the creepy:
How much can darkness cost? The film is eerily effective in spinning something from nothing, often leaving the screen mostly dark as characters peer into a corner or enter a darkened basement. The little girls play a variation on hide and seek called "hide and clap" in which they hide around the house and clap to give the seeker clues. And it's terrifying. (And provides the fiilm's trailer with its climactic scare.) Who would have thought so much could be done with clapping in the dark?
Don't hide a good thing.
By contrast, "R.I.P.D." was not screened in advance for media or preview audiences. The only press screening for "R.I.P.D." began at 7 p.m. Thursday night, with at least one theater starting a public showing at 7:20 that same night.
Familiar but not overexposed. The characters played by Wilson and Farmiga are based on real-life couple Ed and Lorraine Warren. The movie makes a passing reference to a house in Amityville, as another of the Warren's cases formed the basis for "The Amityville Horror." So while "The Conjuring" plays with familiar horror tropes -- it's a haunted house/demonic possession story at its core -- the characters of the Warrens make for an interesting twist. And there has already been talk of a sequel and continuing their adventures, making them an oddball Nick and Nora Charles for the supernatural set.
Bring on the unexpected. Indie stalwart Lili Taylor seems an odd casting choice for a horror thriller, but her onscreen earnestness brings heart to the whirligig goings-on once the movie's possession plot kicks in. The gentle normalcy she and Livingston give off as concerned and frightened parents makes a fantastic counterpoint to the weird dynamics of Wilson and Farmiga. You kind of want to imagine what that double dinner date might be like.
Scary doesn't have to mean gory. And while director
"Just because I make scary movies doesn't mean I want to live in a scary world," Wan said during a Q&A at the LAFF. "I'm nothing like the films I make."
Wan will also see the upcoming release of "Insidious: Chapter 2" and will have the chance to prove himself apart from horror again when he takes on "Fast and Furious 7." Unless there are ghost cars in that one, it looks like his biggest shift in direction yet.
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