Film Review – The Conjuring (2013)

Conjuring top

By Jordan

Directed by James Wan

Starring Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston

When Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) agree to help a distraught family claiming their house to be infested with malevolent spirits, they are unaware that the case they are about to undertake will be the most challenging and distressing of their eventful, tumultuous careers as paranormal researchers. Similarly, when I as an audience member originally intending to see low-brow comedy This is the End changed my mind at the last minute and bought a ticket for The Conjuring, I had no idea just how much my heart was going to be very unimpressed; as it was made to work overtime for nearly the entire 112 minutes…

Having helmed the decade-defining Saw (2003), creepy and atmospheric Dead Silence (2007) and the often terrifying thrill-ride Insidious (2010), director James Wan has established himself as Australia’s premier Master of Horror, and in The Conjuring he has made his masterpiece. Wilson and Farmiga are perfectly cast as the exorcizing couple ‘brought together by God’ and they embody their roles with absolute precision, as do Ron Livingston and Lily Taylor as Roger and Carolyn Perron, whose family of five likable daughters is being terrorised in an increasingly violent fashion. The film does start a little predictably, with a creepy doll used to generate some cheap scares, but this eventually works to its advantage as it proceeds above and beyond this level of horror and into the realm of the extreme – sharing company with the likes of The Exorcist (1973), The Legend of Hell House (1973) and The Amityville Horror (1979), and is in fact a better movie than the last two.

It is a relief witnessing a horror movie utilize the mood and characteristics of 70’s gothic without appearing phoney or forced, as much as it also is being properly scared at the cinema. I was concerned after giddily enjoying the preview for Machete Kills that this would be the highlight of my night; thankfully I was wrong, and The Conjuring may in fact remain one of my top cinema experiences of the year.

When the film begins you will be frightened, when it ends your nerves will be jangled and when you arrive back home and watch an episode of Seinfeld to relax you will feel relieved. But then when you’re in bed and the lights are out, and you stare into that pitch black corner of the bedroom, directly above the wardrobe and away from any doors, you will swear that you heard the sound of someone tapping three times… and that you can smell something rotting… and you will pray that it isn’t Bathsheba, because if it is you may not make it to the morning.

4.5 ghost maids out of 5.

51 responses to “Film Review – The Conjuring (2013)

  1. I’m planning on watching it this weekend. I don’t generally watch horror movies at the theater but after learning that the movie is rated R simply for terror I knew I had to watch it. I’ll let you know what I think. Getting really excited for it. Been reading good reviews.

    • Horror movies can sometimes be ruined at the cinema with a noisy crowd or messy choc-top experience, but I very much recommend making the trip for this one!

      • Saw this last night. Agreed it was one of the better horror movies in recent times, certainly so far this year. Thanks for the recommendation. I actually just posted my review of the movie. It’s my first time reviewing a movie.

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    • I think you’re right Patrick! I’m very keen to see it again, even just to get the chance to clap twice right next to the ear of the person sitting in front of me at the perfect moment…

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    • I’m cautiously looking forward to this. Though I thought that 2010’s Insidious was horrible, I’m interested to see how James Wan handles this story –

      • I can honestly say that I have never seen the film all the way through in one sitting ( and I have tried 4 times ) , I usually fall asleep around the time the red devil-dude-thingy shows up and wake up around the time the father is floating around the front yard … for whatever reason , this film for me is a slow slog through cliché after cliché and a big yawn …
        But I do like slow build films. I think Ti West’s The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers are fantastic –

  4. After watching this movie, I’m extremely curious about Ed-Lorraine Warren’s life, including their “professional deals” with Bathsheba’s colleagues.
    Nice review! 😀


    • It was a great review! Ha, the atmosphere helped a lot I think, there aren’t too many 100% horror films shown at the theaters down here.
      Thanks for stopping by J&E.

  5. I’m going tonight and can’t wait. For the faults in Insidious, I thought it contained some of the scariest horror moments (the demon in the dream etc) of the last decade or so. I got the sense James Wan really understood the genre and how to scare people. The Conjuring looked pretty poor in trailers but I’ve heard great things, can’t wait to see it!

  6. I’m completely torn on this one. On one hand it looks like a decent movie. On the other hand Ed and Lorraine Warren are just completely laughable people and I truly, deeply hate to give them any more undeserved publicity. Honestly – nothing they’ve ever done or claimed has stood up to the most basic scrutiny.

    • Gotta say, I didn’t know a lot about the Warren’s before watching this so could just enjoy it as a scary horror story. If you’re able to do that as well I’m sure you’ll have a great time with it!

  7. I was suprisingly delighted with how much I enjoyed this film. Although I had expectations to enjoy, it surpassed them and has joined the ranks of my favorite horror films – especially from the exorcism/possession/haunted house genre. I couldn’t agree more with all you wrote in this review.

    • Yep I felt the same. In the end its turned out to be one of the very best movies of the blockbuster period which no one would’ve predicted!
      Thanks for stopping by.

  8. I didn’t care for this, even though I was very excited for it. To me I just couldn’t gain a good suspension of disbelief, particularly with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. And the ending seemed a little bit lame to me as well.

    • Yeah I actually really appreciated the appearance of Wilson and Farmiga to add some gravitas to a horror title, I thought the acting across the board was fantastic. I know where you’re coming from though and have certainly felt the same with other recent films!

  9. I was really shocked to find myself being scared after watching a horror film- finally!Although it has a pretty common plot, what is it about this film that makes it so scary!? 😀 James Wan is pretty damn good!!

    • I’m glad you had the same experience as me Maria!
      Wan definitely has the ability to conjure up classic scares like few other directors currently working; his use of music, lighting and tension really are masterful. Also, it doesn’t help when a brilliant cast all fire as well.
      Regards, Jordan

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