Hollywood has a long and complex history with movies based on actual cases of haunted houses. Some movies like The (original) Amityville Horror movie are pretty close the reported phenomenon while others like The Haunting in Connecticut takes enormous liberties with the original occurrence. Thus with the announcement of The Conjuring, a film directly inspired by the Perron case investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren, this author was skeptical of how faithful the production would be.
While the case focuses on the Perron case it also touches on two other cases of the Warrens. One is one of their most famous, Annabelle as well as the exorcism of a man named Maurice. The Annabelle case is well covered in the movie, although it’s interesting to note the actual doll was a Raggedy Anne doll not the creepy doll used in the movie. The Perron case though is the main focus. While this author is not familiar with the details of that specific case the phenomenon documented in the movie is completely consistent with a demonic haunting. The recurrence of the number 3 (activity at 3:07 am, the door banging in sets of threes that Ed comments on, and the loud banging that happens at one point exactly 9 times, or three threes), the smells of rotting meat, one member of the family having experiences when others in the room see nothing and more all fits this kind of phenomenon. This is further backed by comments Lorraine and the Perron’s have made about the accuracy of the movie.
Aside from the phenomenon shown the characterization of Ed and Lorraine is true to the personalities shown in their writings, interviews and people who have interacted with them personally. Anyone who has read any of the Warren’s books will recognize several of Ed’s lines are direct quotes from him recorded in various books. Also their underlying compassion and desire to help people has always characterized their work. Of particular interest from the perspective of a demonologist is that at the climax of the movie Ed performs an exorcism over the mother. Ed many times had stated (even in the movie) that he was not authorized to perform the roman ritual of exorcism since he was a layman not a priest. An exorcist that this author spoke with regarding the movie (who has seen it) has confirmed that in the particular circumstances it would have been permissible for Ed to do so (in the context of the movies the woman’s life was in an immediate and very real danger and there was no priest close enough to arrive in time). Lorraine herself has said Ed would never have preformed an exorcism so it may not have happened as shown in the film but again the circumstances were exceptional enough to warrant what occurred.
Overall the movie is an accurate depiction of a family under demonic attack. Several of its points particularly that a major part of the problem is that the family is not particularly religious and none of their children had been baptized, are particularly important. The haunting was not the family’s fault they moved onto land that had been cursed and had an aura of disaster across the entire area, witnessed by the other deaths mentioned in the film. The ending of the film stands particularly well because unlike many films they do not resort to Hollywood dramatics (like in the Exorcist) but simply on the ritual of Exorcism, even the addition of the Warrens trying to get the woman to fight (John 4:7) and reminding her of her love of her family (1 Corinthians 13:13) are very accurate.
Interview with Andrea Perron and current owner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJqI5L-rtNo#at=1737
Warrens Article on Annabelle: http://www.warrens.net/Annabelle.html