Overview: We start in Amytiville where are intrepid heroes, those ghost hunters sanctioned by the church, meet pure evil and, as Lorainne Warren says, it was the closest to hell she wanted to be.
Then we jump to England where a single mother has moved into a new home. I think it’s government subsidized housing, and her daughter quickly becomes possessed. The children are screaming and being flung around and there’s a stuttering child who sees someone in his play tent and a hell of a lot of screaming. Cue the Warrens, who come to help out despite Lorainne having a premonition that a demon greater than the one haunting this family wants Ed dead. The rhyme is intentional.
They fight the demon, they doubt, they leave and then dramatically return. It rains. I wonder when Sam and Dean will come to end this quicker.
The Good: Scares for sure. The actors, too. I love Vera Farmiga. She’s just gorgeousness and has a presence on screen. Very understated acting, gorgeous eyes which the director picks up on because there is a shot of just her eyes at one point. Patrick Wilson is equally sweet and nice as her husband, Ed Warren, and sings an Elvis song making us all love him, and in case we don’t get that that’s the point of the scene we see Vera standing in a door way adoring him with those eyes of hers, and the camera flips back and forth enough so we feel it, too.
Now, back to scares. There are special effects scares, a nun that’s evil scares, crosses that turn over scares, kids falling through rooms, levitating, speaking in growly voices scares as well. I feel I could go all Dr. Seuss with the types of scares – but I’ll restrain myself.
There’s a bit of a story in here too about how the media sets up these events as real and can distort reality, also how people play for a camera. There’s a slight bit about people thinking the mother of these kids is faking it to get a better house/apartment. The main theme is that the Warren’s are awesome and stuff, though.
The Bad: There’s a lot of screaming. Like- a lot. It got to the point where I felt it was music and screaming and I wasn’t sure what was going on. This came to a head at the end when a son ,Johnny, had something happen to him, and I was wondering where a second son came from. There was the stuttering son, the girl Janet who was the possessed one and her sister. I swear, I don’t recall a fourth kid until the end when *bam* he appeared.
Which goes into a pacing issue I had. I gauge movies now by how apt I am to do other things while they’re on and if I want to pause the film or just walk away. I walked away a bit. I brushed my teeth, got laundry together, played with the cat, came back and it was ‘yup, still haunted, yup, still screaming’ and didn’t feel I missed much amping of tension, intensifying beats, anything like that. It’s a movie where there’s a ghost which turns out to be a demon and people come to get rid of it and there are issues and flooding and worry or what not and it’s over. And have I mentioned the screaming? Because there was a lot of that. And a lot of not just leaving the damn house. At least no animals died that I recall.
The Female: There are women in this film! Maybe more females than males, actually. We have the mother and her two daughters, Lorainne Warren, a female cop, female neighbors. It’s like, like, like this film recognizes that females ACTUALLY make up approximately 49.6% of the world’s population. Oh, and the women talk to each other about things other than men. And they have names! It’s like, omg, novel and new and stuff only not because it’s what happens in that thing called life. Oh yeah, and a demon nun.
Now, to talk about a few of the women in this here film:
Lorainne Warren: The most prominent of the women, here played by Vera Farmiga. She’s the psychic of the Warren duo who go out to hunt down ghosts, the one with ‘the gift.’ Yes, she loves her husband and that’s a focal point of some of her actions, but I loved a scene where her husband and another man were talking. . .about her! omg, and positively, with Ed Warren saying if there’s a demon she can’t handle, it’s a first and reason to be scared. He shows her as an authority! As a human worth mentioning. I mean, men talking about woman. What do I do with the Bechdel on that one? She’s the one who ultimately figures out how to get rid of the big baddie.
Peggy Hodgson: She’s the mom. She screams a lot. She gets bit. She stands up for her kids and is the single mother of three (and possibly four, still fuzzy on where that last boy came from) kids. She has feelings and stuff, protects her kids but is frustrated while doing it, and is overall kinda human.
Janet Hodgson: There’s definitely a thing in the film about little girls getting possessed, isn’t there? The Exorcist is the prime example, but there’s also The Last Exorcism (I and II, hahaha with that name), Exorcism of Emily Rose, Poltergeist, etc. There’s something cultural too it, I think, almost sexual – especially when the possessers are male ghosts. Like, the stripping of innocence and thrill of making prepubescent girls do ‘bad’ things and say ‘bad things’ and the like. I think as a societal look on things it’s creepier than the actual movie portrayal. They have her laugh, wreck a kitchen, talk about killing people, threaten others. Thinking about it now, it is a weird fetishization linked to virginity and ‘purity’ of sexuality in little girls, it seems. huh.
As I mentioned before, there are other females as well – neighbors and a cop and the like. So that was cool.
Overall, not a bad ‘I’m too tired to move’ movie or, if you like the sound of screaming, background movie to catch snippets of. Nothing earth shattering, but entertaining.