I never got around to seeing The Ring on the big screen. It was only years later that my roommates at the time thought it would be a good idea for me to see it. I’m pretty sure they hated me, because the movie genuinely terrified me. I think they knew it would, too. For years after I watched it the first time, I became obsessed. I wouldn’t sleep with a television in my bedroom. I also wouldn’t sleep in a room that a) didn’t have more than one exit or b) had a desktop computer because I didn’t want Samara to pull a fast one on me and come outta there.
One day, I pulled a random Samara profile off of MySpace and sent a message explaining how afraid of her I was. So much so that my dad offered to let me sleep with a gun in my bedroom. I thought about it, but figured I might end up shooting the dog, so we decided against it. The person on the other side of that MySpace account eventually got back to me and said — and I’ll never forget it– “Nah, we’re cool.”
Today, The Ring is one of my favorite movies. Go figure.
Why am I telling you this absurd story? Because not since The Ring have I experienced abject horror during a movie like I did during The Conjuring 2. It was in the theater, all around me, and all I could think was, “Welp, that shit’s gonna be hiding in my closet when I get home. Doesn’t even need a TV to crawl out of.”
In 1977, Paranormal Investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively) are asked by the church to come back from a leave of absence of sorts. Across the pond in a London Borough called Enfield, the Hodgson Family are contending with what appears to be an evil entity in their home. Only one of four children, Janet (Madison Wolfe) is experiencing and strange goings-on. Her older sister Margaret (Lauren Esposito) with whom she shares a bedroom is a bit like the dad from Paranormal Activity. Like, the bed moves by itself and Margaret puts Janet back into that same bed, shushing her gently. It was just the wind.
She handled it far more gracefully than I would’ve. I would have gotten everybody on the front lawn and burned that sucker down. It’s raining because that’s all it ever does in Enfield? We’re gonna get a little wet! Better than a little dead, I say!
Mother of four and left to get by on scraps by her husband, Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor) is kinda sorta keeping the plates spinning where house work and looking after the children are concerned. It can’t be that hard because all these kids ever do is go to bed. Everyone knows that it stands true in most horror movies that the scariest stuff happens after dark. When Janet begins sleep walking, she often ventures outside of the safety of her bedroom.
This movie looooves to stand at the top of the stairs in the dark and look down. I kept expecting to see naked Nana from The Visit go scurrying across. Unlike The Visit, though, this is not funny. This is I-should’ve-taken-some-Xanax-before-this frightening. Or, like, “Hm, I’m never going to be the same after this.”
Enter Ed and Lorraine Warren: Evil Spirit Ass Kickers. They’ve been promised that they only need to stay for a few days and observe. During their residency with the Hodgson gang, some weird shit goes down, but nothing that makes Lorraine’s ears perk up. So they take the opportunity to boost morale in the household. If you see this movie for only one reason, let that reason be Patrick Wilson’s Elvis impression. You’re welcome.
I don’t want to lead you down the wrong path here. The movie, in and of itself, scared me so thoroughly that I was sweating… but that doesn’t mean that it’s good. It serves its purpose, yes. Madison Wolfe was phenomenal. Vera Farmiga, Frances O’Connor, Patrick Wilson… they’re all lovely; each one giving a truly solid performance. However, they could only work with what they were given. Which was apparently a garbage script.
That said, James Wan, if you’re reading this, I still love you and I can’t wait to see Lights Out!
There’s also a lot of cheese is this one. I love cheese. So much so that I would marry it. Just not in this context. I wish I could elaborate on this, but I want everyone to get to see it for themselves. Me telling you wouldn’t do it justice anyway.
What I can tell you is that I may be looking up that creepy nun from the trailers on MySpace to see if we are also cool. That is the first movie “monster” to make me second guess going down the hall to the bathroom at night since Samara. Anytime the nun was on screen for any reason, my kneecaps were very nearly glued to my eyelids. I screamed. Out loud. In a movie theater. Twice.
It should also be said that Joseph Bishara’s score was super hit or miss. He got the dark and spooky tone correct and all of those little jumps that make the viewer feel like there are spiders everywhere, but in certain important parts — like the end of the movie — it feels like we’re wrapping up an episode of 7th Heaven. Given the events leading up to that point, it makes zero sense. I’m just talking about the music. No spoilers here. I wouldn’t do that to you.
At the end of the day, I say go see it. You want the terror sweats? Fine. Just make sure there’s nothing long and black hanging in your closet. I nearly beat the shit out of my winter coat the other morning when I got up for work. It was time to put that away for the Summer anyhow.