Friday, October 3, 2014

"The Conjuring" (2013)

“The Conjuring” is, at its core, just another creepy, make-you-jump, ghost story. What it attempts to do to make it stand apart from others of its ilk is appeal to its “true story” roots. Tons of horror stories rely on the “based on true accounts” conceit, but “Conjuring” takes that to a new level. This film used the actual family that the events happened to in their trailers, and has them claiming this was a faithful take on events. The other tie to reality is that this is one of the case-files of self-promoting “demonologists” Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Ed and Lorraine are celebrities amongst those fascinated in the paranormal and occult. Long story short, they were the premier occult charlatans of the seventies and eighties, making a living on sensationalizing stories of hauntings, possessions, and spooky occurrences. They claimed to be Catholics but didn’t ascribe to church teaching or basic theology. Claimed to be exorcists and demonologists, but didn’t have church or academic credentials of any sort. Claimed to have solved or stopped multiple hauntings, but their most famous (self-reported) cases have never been substantiated and many have been outright disproven.

This film starts out with some ground-rules that it then completely destroys over the course of its stories. Like the fact that ghosts don’t persecute people and don’t have the power to do major hauntings; demons do. Then they have the big-baddy in the story be a ghost. They claim demons don’t possess things, but rather people, then have multiple vessels that hold evil power captive. They claim only the Church can perform the complicated (Latin) ritual to cast out demonic power, then have a lay person do so in English. Etc. etc.

The Warrens like to say things like, “The devil and God exist, and our destiny hinges on whom we chose to follow.” But all of their focus on evil and the danger it presents is nothing more than animistic religious superstition, and they have nothing to say about God or good. Their website’s version of “the Gospel” is to say that you should “follow the light” when you die. That is un-evangelistic even for a catholic!

Then again, this is nothing more than a creepy thrill ride, and like “The Exorcist,” “Amityville,” and many others before it, it has little or nothing to do with reality, supernatural or otherwise.

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