Loraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) are two paranormal investigators helping people out with haunted houses, exorcisms, possessions and stuff. Loraine is a clairvoyant. Ed, her husband, is demonologist. Together they solve cases throughout America, while also touring local schools to present their work in hopes to gain more credibility and respect. After one of their lectures they meet a desperate Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) mother of five girls that begs them to take a look at her house. Even though her husband Roger (Ron Livingston) is a bit skeptical about the two, the unusual and violent episodes taking place in their new home soon convince him that something supernatural is going on. Loraine immediately senses malevolent forces. Something terrible has happened many years ago and is coming back to haunt them. Ed suggests that the house needs an exorcism. However he can’t perform the ritual himself, because he’s not a priest. To get a priest they’ll need evidence of the haunting. That however turns out to be the least of their worries, when the evil spirit in the house starts possessing people, throwing around furniture and even farting, believe it or not. Continue reading
It looks like the horror auteur creator of the SAW series and director of genre films like Dead Silence, Insidious and The Conjuring will retire from his field of expertise. The filmmaker commented “I spent the last ten years of my life doing this. It’s time for a change, for goodness sake!” and also implied that he doesn’t want to always direct the same type of movies.
[…] Hollywood puts you in a box. If you do a successful comedy, then you’re know as The Comedy Guy. If you do a successful car chase movie, then you become that guy. So I’m a student of cinema, so I just want to make sure I get the chance to make other kinds of films.“
In fact his next film will be Fast & Furious 7, the newest entry in one of the longest running action franchises. While he is changing genre, he certainly is doing a lot of franchises and maybe that’s something else to consider when planning your career. In any case, Wan’s critical and financial success in the horror genre almost certainly warrants a comeback at some point. Low budget horror films are also the easiest projects to find financing, many people in the business started there. Besides Wan seems to genuinely love the genre and you don’t just forget your first love.
As a fan of the supernatural horror I am more than pleased to witness the sub-genre’s revival in recent years. While certainly not all recent outings have been great, there has been a good portion of decent films being released lately. James Wan’s The Conjuring looks good based on the marketing material we’ve seen so far, but see for yourselves as it hits theaters in the US this weekend.
In honor of The Conjuring and in true Rotten Tomatoes fashion, here are five of my favorite supernatural horror films, in order of release date.
5. The Amityville Horror (1979, Stuart Rosenberg)
Scary, creepy and atmospheric: The Amityville Horror is one of the best haunted house films ever made. The story revolves around a young couple that moves into a new home that apparently has a dark past. What really sells this movie for me though is Margot Kidder, who not only looks enchanting, but can also act: How refreshing is that? Anyway, if you’re looking for a classic genre film that has stood the test of time and can still be quite frightening, look no further. This is it.
4. Ringu (1998, Hideo Nakata), Ringu 2 (1999, Hideo Nakata) & Ringu 0: Bâsudei (2000, Tsuruta Norio)
I would recommend watching the whole Ringu trilogy, before approaching the American remakes (which are also good). Nothing beats the original Japanese trilogy however. This is my favorite horror trilogy, because the quality is consistent throughout. Three excellent detective stories slash mysteries slash supernatural horror films. I also recommend using subtitles, because so much is lost in translation when dubbing a film, besides it’s also scarier that way.
3. Noroi: The Curse (2005, Shiraishi Kōji)
Noroi is the scariest film of the five, at least on a first viewing. It’s especially frightening if you believe in demons and the supernatural. Still, this is probably my favorite found footage film. It was made before the sub-genre caught on in America, so it has the advantage that it wasn’t just made to cash in on a gimmick. The faux documentary tells the story of a filmmaker investigating paranormal incidents connected to an ancient demon who seems to be back for revenge.
2. Solstice (2008, Daniel Myrick)
Directed by one of the guys responsible for The Blair Witch Project, Solstice retains the same atmospheric undertones, while presenting itself in a shiny and glossy teen horror aesthetic. When I first watched the movie a couple years ago I’ll admit that I was mostly lured in thanks to the charming Elizabeth Harnois (playing two roles at the same time). Since then I revisited it, because it was genuinely scary and much better than what you’d expect from similar fare.
1. The Innkeepers (2011, Ti West)
As someone that doesn’t mind slow-paced films, but actually prefers them I really dug The Innkeepers. It has a good sense of humor, build-up and Sara Paxton, who’s always easy on the eyes. Beyond that it is a good haunted ‘house’ film, because it is more about tone and atmosphere instead of plot. While the first two acts are excellent in creating a creepy environment, the third act falls a bit flat because it shows too much and what it decides to show isn’t nearly as scary as what’s in the viewer’s mind. Still very recommended.