Movie Review: The Conjuring

By Stephen Rebello

<p>Don't let anyone spoil The Conjuring, a thriller in the tradition of Poltergeist and The Exorcist, for you.<br></p>

Director: James Wan

Rating: R

Studio: New Line Cinema / The Safran Company

Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor

Unless you catch the new haunted house thriller The Conjuring fast, some well-meaning people and more than a few jerks will probably overhype and try to spoil it for you. Don’t let them. Written by Chad and Carey Hayes and directed by James Wan (Insidious), the film recounts the story of controversial real-life paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren (played in the film by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson), forced into a hair-raising battle royal with a supernatural entity terrorizing the nice, normal-seeing Perron family in their handsome Rhode Island farmhouse (Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor and five convincingly spooked-looking actresses playing their daughters).

Set in the early ’70s, this is a movie filled with menacing shadows, odd sounds, unexplained bodily bruises and things that regularly go bump in the night—and then some. Very little of what goes on will be surprising to fans of ectoplasmic classics like, say, the ’60s version of The Haunting or the ’80s Poltergeist, let alone The Exorcist. But the thrills and jolts are handled in The Conjuring with style and know-how, the unsettling atmosphere is beautifully put over by cinematographer John R. Leonetti and all the performances, especially Farmiga’s and Taylor’s, are right on the money.

Movie hauntings should always be treated with such respect.


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