One of the panels I moderated at WonderCon this year was for James Wan’s new film “The Conjuring.” It was a treat to have Lorraine Warren, one of the real-life inspirations for the film, and we spoke with her a bit after the panel. I got to meet several of the daughters of the family depicted in the film, and by the end of the day, I’d been able to have fascinating conversations with all of them.
Before I moderated the panel, they showed me the film so I could see what I’d be talking about. That’s not always the case, but they seemed very confident that they had something special, and while I’m still not reviewing the film (we’ll do that closer to release), I can tell you that I agree. I think Wan’s getting better from film to film right now, and it’s exciting to watch what he’s doing. He has a knack for a particular type of haunted-house experience, and this is a particularly character-driven version of this type of film.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga star as Ed and Lorraine Warren, and this feels like a chapter in a much larger story about them. They worked as parapsychologists for years, and in the ’70s, when it seemed like there was a cultural moment of accepting all the fringiest supernatural ideas as possible, they were involved in several high-profile events, including The Amityville Horror. In this case, they become involved with a family who has moved into a house that seems to be pushing them towards some sort of awful tragedy.
Lili Taylor, one of my favorite working actors, does a tremendous job of grounding the film’s terrors, and Ron Livingston is very good as her husband, unsure how to handle what appears to be happening to his family.
If this sounds like it might be your cup of tea, and you’re here in LA, I have a really fun announcement just for you: we’re showing the film.
Next Monday, June 24th, we’re taking over the Vista Theater*, and we’re going to do a 7:30 PM screening of the movie. We may even have some special guests there. We’ll have more details as we get closer to the actual event, but for now, please use the following link —
— and I look forward to watching several hundred of you lose your collective cool when James Wan gets a hold of you. It’s gonna be a blast.
*[Editor’s note: If you live in Southern California and have never been to the Vista Theater, you must come to this screening. One of the true gems of Los Angeles movie theaters with one of the best screens in town and it even has extra leg room!]
“The Conjuring” opens in theaters nationwide on July 19, 2013.