Movie Review: Bind (a.k.a. American Conjuring) – A Tale of Two Movies

American Conjuring Poster

Genre: Horror

Director: Dan Walton & Dan Zachary

Running Time: 86 Minutes

“Everything for this movie was done in duplicate. Two names, two posters, two Facebook pages, two directors but it’s definitely not doubly good.”

– TropicalMary

The Plot

Ben moves his family into a house with a violent and evil past. There is already tension between mother and father, father and step-daughter, and so on. It’s really just a melting pot of dysfunction, with the typical moody teenager, annoying pre-tween, and parents with fidelity issues. The previous occupant of the house tries to warn the family of the evil within and the trustworthiness of the “friend” who sold them the house but, obviously, no-one wants to listen.

As expected, the house and her dead occupant start to express their anger and hatred by attacking the family is different ways. It all starts out small, with whispered names and objects moving, but eventually escalating to violence and murder.

Amercian Conjuring Mom & Daughter

Performances & Special Effects

The entire cast, with the exception of the family’s dog and the dead lady, was awful. Lynn Csontos (as the mother) demonstrated the acting ability of my big toe, not to be outdone by her equally lacklustre daughter (Mckenzie Mowat) as an emo version of Anna Kendrick. I could give you a number of points explaining how each cast member fell short but that would take more space than I am will to allot to this review. Darren Matheson (Ben) was, by far, the worst of the lot. Ryan Reynolds he is NOT, my friends! I feel bad saying this because I wonder how much of the poor performance(s) is a result of a lack of skill rather than bad directing and a shitty script.

The abysmal acting was further bolstered by a drab colour palette with bizarre framing and stilted jump scares. Continuity clearly wasn’t a consideration when you see a new iPhone being used in a scene purported to be set in 2004. Further, I think that the filmmakers were confused by how long ago 1966 was. The flashbacks and settings for this period were geared more to 1866 rather than a mere 50 years ago. 1866 would have made the house’s dark history far more compelling.

I will give the special effects wizards props for a decent monster, played by Natasha Davidson, especially considering the indie budget that this was made on. I liked the stylisation and overall creepy feel of the character and makeup. Otherwise, the SFX were pretty dull. Some vomiting, a ball being thrown through a dark doorway, off camera killings that you can see are not actually happening. I had particular issue with the killing of the dog. In the scene, you can actually see that the dog is too far away from the axe for it to connect with dog’s body, and the blood spatter on the character as well as the ground is too clean for killing a living thing. This sort of oversight breaks the fantasy and illusion of the film.

American Conjuring Shower

The Review

This is one of the most tired plots in horror today, with close to no new plot twists or innovation. The fact that this movie relies so heavily on its predecessors (Amityville Horror, The Conjuring, Sinister, Insidious, etc.) makes it tedious to watch. It made Amityville its foundation (right down to the shirtless wood chopping scene) and stole little things from the others. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why the movie was named Bind or American Conjuring. My assumption is that the latter was a ploy to ride the coattails of James Wan’s successful Conjuring series of films but Bind baffles me more. Are they bound to the house? Are they bound to each other? Is the “witch” bound to the house? Can the “witch” be bound and cast out? I just don’t know, nor do I care.

Horror films rely quite heavily on their soundtrack and ambient noise, and the use of silence to create tension. The fact that I have no recollection of what the movie “sounds” likely gives you enough of an idea as to how effective their soundtrack and sound mixing was in creating tension. In addition to this, the choppy editing made for a jarring experience while watching scenes with more than two lines of dialogue. It was almost as if the entire movie was filmed using one camera and they needed to re-position the camera each time a new character spoke. Surely the delay in response from each character could have been edited in post? The “twist” ending made me roll my eyes, because, yet again, it was completely unoriginal.

To be far, I actually had a pretty fun time watching this but that was because we were laughing at the movie all the way through and I was preempting the dialogue before the characters delivered the lines. Honestly, this movie has zero to offer and a just a cheap knock-off of far better executions of the same plot.

My rating: 2/5

Buy or rent American Conjuring/Bind from Amazon, if you must.

You might like:

Any of the other films I’ve mentioned in this review.

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3 responses to “Movie Review: Bind (a.k.a. American Conjuring) – A Tale of Two Movies

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