By Steve Anderson | October 10, 2005

There is nothing I can say that will express the depth of disappointment I feel while watching “Conjure.” Read on to see why.

So what we have here is, well, I’m not sure just what it is we have here. We’ve got a lot of Matt Busch hawking his own artwork, and shamelessly promoting his career, but not much in the way of actual storyline going on here. At least not until the last half of the movie, when there is plot, but it’s a plot you’ve seen before several times.

The first thing you’ll likely notice about “Conjure” is that the effects are a real mixed bag. Even the first thirty five seconds is proof of this. First, the ghost at twenty five seconds in…convincing. Unnerving. Well acted, well done.

But then, follow that up with some second-rate weapons fire special effects at the twenty seven second mark.

But then, the monster sequence at the forty two second mark kicks in, and manages to be both creepy and weird all at the same time.

But then, we’re treated to this positively horrendous opening sequence starting about a minute and a half in. Mindlessly self-serving, it is little more than a promotional sequence for Busch’s artwork.

It’s not that someone wouldn’t have a use for this footage. It’s not as though it isn’t interesting, even! I’m sure amateur artists everywhere are going to find this inspirational. I did, even!


Almost the first ten minutes of “Conjure” have NOTHING at all to do with the PLOT!

I find myself enraged by this. I just spent ten minutes watching a COMMERCIAL. Not even the THEATRES subject you to a ten minute commercial before the movie starts.

The theatres at least have the class to give you several different commercials for those ten minutes….

Worse yet, the next several minutes are almost exclusively devoted to Matt painting what looks like a castle he found in a graveyard. For a ninety minute flick, there’s not a whole lot in the way of plot to be had here, folks. Thirteen minutes out of ninety have been eaten up by Matt And His Art. That’s almost twenty five percent of your movie just lost to a guy drawing.

For reference, think how pissed off you’d be if “The Princess Bride” was twenty five percent Fred Savage sitting in bed and reading.

Put the torches and pitchforks down, please….

I found myself wondering, around the twenty minute mark…is there a plot in all this? WHERE is the plot in all this?

It’s about twenty one minutes in, that’s where the plot is. We get this nice little sequence, eerily reminiscent of the motion detector sequence in “Aliens” where Matt wanders through his house, gun in hand, as a series of motion detector lights activate on a command center back in the bedroom.

But then, twenty five minutes in, it’s all for naught as it’s back to Time Passes sequences of clouds moving and more with Matt And His Art.

The disappointment I feel at this moment is just staggering.

And THEN, as if the first ten minutes weren’t bad enough, we get it all recapped in the form of a Detroit Free Press interview around the twenty seven minute mark! Who IS the target market for this movie, anyway? Really big Matt Busch fans with the attention spans of ferrets on crack??

Yes, there will be some new information in this sequence. It doesn’t change the fact that it comes after the part that repeats what’s said earlier.

The handful of purely terrifying sequences that come into play and the positively spectacular ghost effects are no match for the sheer and astonishing bulk of shameless self-promotion that we’re subjected to.

The ending is twenty pounds of predictable in a five pound sack. Matt Saves The Day. Yaaaay. And the how is even worse…folks, we’ve all seen this before. This is a “Monkey’s Paw” ending all over again, done so many times before by better movies than this. Eliminate the thing that caused the problem and watch the problem go away. “Wishcraft”. “Wishmaster.” “Hellraiser”. “Leprechaun”. The list goes on.

Plus, more commercials. You’re welcome.

The special features include a blooper reel, a making of featurette, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, trailers, an interactive sketchbook, and others to be determined later.

All in all, Matt pretty much sums up the impetus behind the movie in the first ten minutes. Art is a lot about selling a product. And “Conjure” is the art that Matt must have intended to sell a lot of his own products. “Conjure” is, categorically, one of the worst movies I’ve had the intense displeasure of having seen in a long time.

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