Wednesday 2014-11-05

The Conjuring written by the Hayes twins, directed by James Wan

I watched this when it first came out, and didn't think much of it: just a good fright-fest that painted the Catholic Church as a weak and slow bureaucracy. Re-watching it this Halloween, it comes across as a commentary on race relations.

Consider that the initial setup is 1968 (the year MLK was shot), and the story -- while supposedly set in Connecticut -- is actually set in North Carolina and centers around a hanging.

In the film, we have two communities: the living and the dead. The initial contact is by the marginalized out-group (dead) acting out against trespass by our in-group.

Subsequent communication between these two groups is by bias-free children and by sensitive adults, who attempt to bridge the inter-community gap.

However, our in-group's community responds to increasingly violent contact by trying to conduct science and experiment on the out-group, turning the out-group into an object of study.

At the end of the film, we have the in-group triumph over the out-group, invalidating the out-group's property claims, and a resumption of "normalized" relations.

Sound familiar?