the conjuring: why did the dog have to die and other questions

SPOILER AHEAD! There you’ve been warned.

So my friend dragged me talked me into watching The Conjuring. As we were on the elevator going up to the theater, I asked him if he’d read any spoilers, but he said no. I hadn’t read any spoilers nor reviews, so I was unprepared for anything. I’d seen the trailer (twice, actually) and thought it was going to be an okay movie.

Note about trailers: they lie. All the time. I thought Prometheus was going to be awesome. Then I thought Pacific Rim was going to be awesome. I thought Up was a happy family movie. Lies. All of them. Especially Up.

Also, please excuse me, I have the habit of writing and finding images to support my post, so I may experience brain scatter and my dad is playing his harmonica (it’s almost 10 PM here), but hey, at least he’s not a parent possessed by the spirit of a witch who’s trying to kill the children (or is he? I mean, at least he’s not playing his violin. Now that’s murder). Please excuse my foreshadowing.

The real Annabelle doll. Click here to read her story.

The story of the Warrens (the husband and wife who seek supernatural activities and attempt to stop disturbances) is actually a real one, although the Annabelle doll presented in the movie is too Chucky-ish and not as cute slash creepy as the real one. However, it is not about Annabelle (or is it?). Please excuse my foreshadowing. Again.

It’s about a house that’s haunted by an evil presence. The evil presence turns out to be a witch named Bathsheba, who committed infanticide (her own, to be exact. Seven days old, to be more precise), then committed suicide after telling how much she loved Satan and cursing those who live in the land and the house.

The new family moves into the house, ignorant of the house’s (and the land’s) morbid and murderous past, and of course things get interesting. That’s when the Warrens come in.

NAAWW! I DON'T WANNA SEE THE MOVIE AGAAAIN!!

NAAWW! I DON’T WANNA SEE THE MOVIE AGAAAIN!!

Some screams ensue, then disturbances that involve the inhabitants of the house being thrown around, some sightings (although it’s unclear whether we’re seeing the spirits through Lorraine Warren’s point of view in the movie or not), then the mother gets possessed and goes off to kill her two daughters.

No one dies in the end, so it’s uh… probably the happiest horror movie I’ve seen in years. Well no, Sadie the dog dies, and some birds. And I like dogs better than I like most humans, so the movie is actually really sad. (Addendum: lots of you are asking if/where/how Sadie dies. Well, I think it’s in the same spot where birds fly and hit a window (on the side of the house, perhaps under the window of the parents’ room, where the white sheet is blown by the wind). I couldn’t see anything, but I think Sadie ran around and got strangled by her chain.)

Even Jeremy Renner couldn't save Hansel and Gretel.

Even Jeremy Renner couldn’t save Hansel and Gretel.

Lili Taylor is of course flawless in this movie (then again, it’s a character she plays well), as are other actors, but I just… I lost it when the movie tried to relate it to the witches. I mean, come on. Bathsheba (the witch / evil presence) is said to be related to Mary Easty, who is never found guilty of witchcraft. When this was revealed, the feminist inside me screamed bloody (character) murder. The Conjuring, which is a pretty good (and jumpy (but not scary)) movie stoops as low as MTV’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Now that I’ve got it out of my system, let’s point out some issues I found in the movie.

  1. The Annabelle doll, along with Bathsheba, haunted Judy (daughter of the Warrens’) in the Warrens’ house. Hmm, not exactly sure why Bathsheba had to take Annabelle with her. Addendum: I watched The Conjuring again for the second time and I think Bathsheba used Judy (and the Annabelle doll) to scare the Warrens. I mean, The Annabelle doll was possessed and could move around, and so if it could kill Judy, then perhaps the Warrens would not be able to come to help Carolyn and Roger and family. Therefore, with no Warrens’ interference, Bathsheba (inside Carolyn) could freely kill the children, thus destroying the family. Does this make sense?
  2. Bathsheba just disappeared? Was it Carolyn’s sheer will power (well, along with the exorcism and her husband’s words and Lorraine’s help) that got rid of Bathsheba?
  3. It was Ed Warren’s first time doing exorcism and nothing went wrong. In my creative writing class, we call it missed opportunity (although perhaps that’s what happened, because the story is based on some truth).
I'd conjure that!

Mmmhmm… I could sure use some exxxorcism.

Maybe like all real horror stories, it’s hard to guess the spirit’s motivation. However, I still stand by my opinion: it’s really unfair to throw the witches once again under a burning bus.

The Conjuring has its moments, though, like when Bathsheba (trivia: she’s played by a man) jumps off the top of the wardrobe, then the white sheet blown by the wind, but I have to say, Stephen King’s Rose Red was way scarier than The Conjuring. Or, one of my favorites: The Others. Now that’s hair-raising. The Conjuring doesn’t have a sense of dread that I think is essential in the horror genre. It is classic in a sense that nothing presented is new (there’s a haunted house, vengeful spirit, and exorcism, then there’s the talk of the number three as mocking the Trinity of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit). I think Exorcism of Emily Rose is by far the best exorcism movie out there. Which makes me wonder, what exactly is The Conjuring about and if the family really cared about Sadie the dog after all. I mean, they moved on pretty quickly.

Well, speaking of witches, please excuse me while I go watch Practical Magic.

6 thoughts on “the conjuring: why did the dog have to die and other questions

  1. I see what you’re saying that ‘The Conjuring’ is nothing new, but I respectfully disagree. That’s because when I watch a movie I am allowing myself to believe what I’m seeing is real and the first time I’m seeing it. It’s called suspension of disbelief. I believe if I watch something I shouldn’t say to myself, “I’ve seen this in another movie, this isn’t real.” Reason being, maybe the other movie made it up and what I’m seeing is actually true and other story was not. A little like the boy who cried wolf. Even ‘The Exorcist’ embellished and was only LOOSELY based on a true story. And that is considered by many, including myself to be the best horror of all time. In the real story it was a boy, not a girl. It was in the Midwest, not Georgetown. There was what appeared to be a message on the boy’s chest, but no split pea soup incident. You get the picture. I saw ‘The Conjuring’ a couple weeks back and I’ve done some checking. The story is real. The house and the family who lived there were real. Even the history of the property is real. And the family really was reportedly attacked at different times through the 10-year span they occupied the house, specifically the mother whom the female spirit wanted out because she was attracted to the father. The Warrens really were in the house on several occasions. In fact, even before they were at Amityville they were here. But the fact is the family believed it was doing more harm than good and asked them to leave. I can kind of see it going down that way, as well. Sounds believable. However, that wouldn’t make for as dramatic an ending and ‘The Conjuring’ was not just meant to inform, but to entertain.

    • Hi, Mike. Thanks for the comment.

      I believe I’ve made it clear that I know the story was based on some truth.

      The comparison was not to The Exorcist (which I saw and didn’t like), but to The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which is loosely based on another case of exorcism gone bad but presented as a courtroom drama – a new angle.

      The Conjuring lost its meaning to me the moment they connected Bathsheba to Mary Easty, who was never found guilty of being a witch, and I admit it is a very, very biased opinion. It just so Stephen King’s Rose Red to me (which was also based on a true case).

      It may be (somewhat) based on a real case, but almost nothing presented is real or taken from a fresh angle, which is a shame because The Conjuring is a fine and well-acted movie.

  2. Just watched the movie on HBO and I am a bit pissed.The connection to the Salem Witch Trials is what has made me angry. Being a decendant of John Proctor I am totally peeved that they would connect these clearly innocent people who died horrible deaths to such nonsense.

    • I don’t really know. I think they’re attracted to whatever it is that’s haunting the house. They seem to be trying to fly into the window of the room where the bed sheet flies to. Also, the dog dies under that same window.

spew on me

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