The Conjuring is an atmospheric horror that successfully combines the visceral with the psychological.
In 1971, Carolyn and Roger Parren move into a Rhode Island farmhouse with their daughters. When strange events begin to occur in the house, Carolyn contacts noted paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren to remove the dark presence…
The latest offering from James Wan, helmer of Saw and Insidious, combines elements of the haunted house film with that of an exorcism flick. This works for the most part, with the detective aspects being employed for expositional purposes.
The Conjuring builds tension in an effective manner. There are well-placed jumpy moments. These are executed with some restraint, rather than being an onslaught.
References to other horror movies begins with The Conjuring‘s opening titles. The film’s title on screen immediately evokes The Exorcist. This is not the only allusion to the 1973 film. Other horror films are also referenced in Wan’s film.
The only real let down is that too much is overstated in The Conjuring. Th film attempts to drop some red herrings but these fall like clangers rather than hints. The result is that the end game is rather predictable. This is only the case as The Conjuring adopts the tried and tested methods of horror films past.
Wan’s direction is solid. There are several nice transitional and tracking shots employed in the film. The sound is an effective tool in generating tension. For the most part, the film looks of the era it is set.
It is a nice touch that Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are cast as the experienced investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, given that both actors could be considered veterans of the genre. Elsewhere, performances are decent.
There is enough in the film to give both the immediate jumps and disquieting feelings that should stay with viewers. The Conjuring is not perfect, but it is a very entertaining horror.