I’ve always found Vera Farmiga’s eyes frighteningly compelling. Seriously. Limpid pools. I could drown in them. Or be attacked by eels in them. Or something. The prospect of seeing her as a tormented paranormal investigator in The Conjuring kind of chills me to my soul.
My wife and I have a recurring discussion whenever we see a promo for a horror movie that looks disturbing or super creepy or has somebody doing that freaky, jerky crawl-walking thing, but that ends up being rated PG-13.
“How is that just PG-13?” my wife asks, wincing. “How is that not rated R?”
“I dunno. They probably don’t curse that much or there’s no boobs or not a lot of blood,” I reason, not without adding a condescending chuckle. “You can’t rate something R just for being too scary.”
Then I read somewhere that The Conjuring had received an R-rating just for being too scary, a fact I’ve not, of course, called to the attention of my wife.
This was surprising, because the first trailer, completely devoid of Vera’s eels/eyes, could best be summarized as, “If you’re spooky and you know it, clap your hands.” This is rated R? Surely a bloody, naked woman drops the F-bomb at some point, right?
It all makes a little more sense after seeing another, much scarier trailer. At the very least, it definitely makes The Conjuring seem more exciting than the* paranormal investigation I’ve been on. I met up with some ghost-hunters at an old cemetery in the woods where they said they would look for “orbs” and record Electronic Voice Phenomena, ghostly whispers allegedly hidden in the ambient noise of audio recordings.
But, before we could get to any of that, it really needed to get darker first, so they suggested we hit Hooters for dinner. Do they sell buckets of oysters there? I’m not completely certain, but I seem to remember sitting for ages picking at a terrible chicken sandwich while one of the Junior Necromancers slowly worked her way to the bottom of a giant tub of shellfish. I do, however, distinctly recall the ghost-hunter with a mullet flaunting his pistol to me when we finally got back to the cemetery. It wasn’t for the ghosts; by this point, it seems they had all called it a night. He said it was to keep rednecks from messing with us.
Paranormal activity remained minimal to nil, and even with guns, the Hooters girls, and the looming specter of Deliverance-type shenanigans, I don’t think we pushed past PG territory. But, I shot some footage with one of those greenish night-vision cameras, so it looked like everyone had really scary eyes. Take that, Vera. In theaters July 19th.
*I say “the” singular, but it’s actually “one of the,” because I’m that much of a sucker.