Director and writer Clint Hutchinson, the main person in creating and presenting a quality haunting tale for the audience to enjoy, brings us an interesting title Conjurer (his debut feature film), that takes city folk minded couple who suffered a miscarriage and try to reset their marriage and lives, but the storyline takes a creepy journey into darkness realms in life. Hutchinson, a man known for his movie making skills and talents, with contributing visual efforts on The Lost Boys (1987) and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) and let’s not forgot about his entertaining werewolf flick Big Bad Wolf (2006), serving as producer.
The entire movie maintains a rather low key approach, providing more storytelling, and allowing the atmosphere of the presentation to consume the audience, especially referencing the subplot, with a spider web design, triggering the right moment to pounce on the audience. A storyline, filled with legends of witches and haunting, all contain in tight fitted independent horror movie with a ghostly nature, which avoids the commonly placed moments of easy foreshadowing, raised musical score and other clichés normally found in a ghost story. Hutchinson uses the old school methods of The Haunting (1963) and The Changeling (1980) to channel the audience into the direction for thrills and chills, knowing subtle changes and brings the tension to provide more excitement from the audience that one massive jump-scare. The tension gets heart racing, clutching the one next you or just a pillow, the true strength comes from the characters themselves. Herein, the actors hit the marks perfectly no one trying carry the entire movie, rather a collective effort, all relying the script and the director to show them the guiding hand, fulfill with well-defined background stories, a developing tale. Helen (Maxine Bahns) and Shawn (Andrew Bowen) takeover a countryside home, unaware of legends and rumors involving the property and isolated cabin, noting their unfamiliarity with grounds, and suggestions lingering later but influences of supernatural presence existing and evading their new lives. Then add in a tremendous performance and believability from John Schneider and his role as, Helen’s brother Frank, his natural country attitude, and caring for the well-being of his sister, a tease to his brother-in-law Shawn, a normalcy in families. At no time does the body count need to raise, or adding a slew of nameless characters, to cause bloodshed, just the humming along of a scary strange ride of bliss, a welcome change to the horror genre. One of the more disturbing elements, to kindle the interest factor for those viewers on the fence, occurs in that abandoned cabin, a jar of teeth, and baby teeth, providing just enough shifting in the seat for the average audience member.
David Yarbrough, who assisted in the script, with Clint, both deliver aces on the script layering emotions to carry the story, with supernatural psychological which impacts the characters, allowing the chemistry to stir to heighten proportions for everyone to deliver a chill. Without, giving much away for the ending, don’t think it ends with Andrew’s character, rather hold still for the true conclusion to sweep across the screen.
The story line at times feels a tad like Bay Coven (1987), a made for television movie, featuring a young Woody Harrelson, and yet leaps over that production, keeping the CGI to minimum and using very subtle visual effect techniques with masterful skill, just to appear as natural as possible for all to enjoy.
The film never hits any snags, or down an endless path to nowhere, a hint of a cliché, but nothing distracting the viewer from the entertainment on the screen. As for the target audience likely those in their thirties as, the movie, falls for the married couple struggling with adult issues, such the traumatic loss of a baby, no teenagers, or bloodlust, let alone tense sexual references, an old finished tale, rated PG-13, released by Monarch Home Entertainment.