Saturday, June 25, 2011

Horror Film Review

Conjurer (2008):  Cool poster.  It is not, however, "Genuinely creepy."  Kind of looks like Lady Gaga, doesn't it?  To give you an idea of what I thought of this movie, I'd rather watch one of her concerts because I know that, at least, wouldn't be boring.

Yuppie couple Shawn and Helen Burnett (Andrew Bowen and Maxine Bahns) move to the country after their near-term baby dies in the womb.  Helen's contractor-brother Frank Higgins (John Schneider) offers them a house on an acreage he recently bought.  Near their new house stands an old cabin where a witch is said to have lived.  The locals say the stories of curses and weird doings are old wives' tales.  Not long after they move in, though, Shawn starts experiencing oddness.  A crow always hangs around (a library book tells Shawn crows are "familiars" for witches), a light appears in the cabin's window in the middle of the night, their dog mysteriously dies, and there's the sound of a woman wailing/screaming.  Convinced the witch is real and out to kill a newly-pregnant Helen, Shawn goes a bit wacky and, by accident, almost kills his wife with a shotgun.  (A subplot involving Shawn as a boy witnessing his father murder his mother and then himself becomes important at this point.)  Frank hurries home to rescue his sister, and Shawn is taken away to the land of padded rooms.  So is the witch real or was it all in Shawn's head?  In the end, I really didn't give a good goddamn. 

You've seen this movie before.  Trust me.  Every cliche is wheeled out of the cinematic cellar.  I'm struggling to come up with one tiny thing that's original here.  Um...nope.  I admit, cliche can be forgiven if the filmmaker compensates for it in other ways.  Maybe by ramping up the gore or going for laughs.  No such luck.  What we have here is a tired, uninspired, and worst of all, unscary film.  Seriously, Lady Gaga's outfits frighten me more than Conjurer did.

The Breakdown

Acting:  Not terrible, just...blah.  I will say that I would have liked to see more of John Schneider (he's way better here than in Lake Placid 2).
Story:  Lame.
Direction:  There must be a paint-by-numbers equivalent for movie makers, and these guys used it.
Production Values:  Can't really complain.  It's on film and looks pretty good. 
Gore/FX:  So little it's almost sad.  Some blood but not nearly enough.  There is one decent FX shot when Shawn's looking at a slide on a projector screen. 
Scares:  The above-mentioned FX shot.  That's about it.
The Ending:  Very pregnant Helen sitting in the house by the fireplace gives the camera a look.  Vague enough for you?  Dumb.
The Verdict:  Should you see Conjurer?  If the cable and internet go out, and you're interested in watching a new movie, then I guess you could.  Personally, I'd rather read a book.  Or scrub the toilet.

My Rating2 out of 5 stars.

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