ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Conjuring - Review

Updated on August 5, 2013

Being hailed by many critics as the saviour of the mainstream American horror film, The Conjuring differs from many other recent horror releases by drawing more influence from the older 1970s and 1980s movies. This is rather appropriate for a film centred around the haunting and possession of a family, after they move into their rather ominous new abode. Maybe it's that more people were religious forty or so years ago, but hauntings always seem more plausible in films, for some reason, when they're set in an earlier time period than our own.

Whilst The Conjuring doesn't go as far as Ti West's House of the Devil in replicating the experience of an older movie, it does recreate the era rather well. Director James Wan never goes out of his way to point out when the film is set and instead just lets the setting breathe, whilst he goes about attempting to make the audience jump.

Originally called The Warren Files, The Conjuring's plot is split between two different storylines which eventually converge. First there's the family that are experiencing some rather spooky activity in their house, and then there's the Warrens: a husband and wife team that go around exorcising demonic forces and also lecturing about it at universities. In one sense it's a somewhat useful way of divulging plot information by disguising those scenes where one group of characters tells another group of characters what is happening. On the other hand, we still manage to have scenes with awkward exposition, The Conjuring is keen to give its brand of ghost busting some kind of pseudoscientific basis, typically by having Vera Farmiga explain stuff to a bunch of students, in reality though it would have been much creepier just to not have a lot of the stuff explained to us at all. In fact, one of the movie's best moments involves the revelation that Loraine Warren came into contact with something whilst performing an exorcism, what it was the film never completely reveals.

In terms of its scares, The Conjuring is a mixed bag. The opening hour or so of the film has the best horror material. Jump scares are used but not too much, and instead emphasis is placed on the fact that most large houses are simply creepy in their own right. Scary events are drip-fed to prevent the film peaking too early, whilst also enabling Wan to drag out the tension for as long as he can. However, once things really start going down, The Conjuring descends into decent, but very predictable, The Exorcist-type horror. Jump scares become more and more frequent and, while the exorcism itself does make use of some interesting visuals, it's almost all been done before.

That's not to say that The Conjuring is ever a bad horror film by any means, and one thing that it has going for it is a very accomplished cast. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson provide great performances as the Warrens and the actors that make up the haunted Perron family are all very believable and help to reinforce the terror they are subjected to by the malevolent entity. If anything, Wan doesn't give enough time to all these different characters. The children in particular are pretty much absent from a lot of what's going on, with the exception of a couple of scenes.

What's more, there's a recurring plot element about a possessed doll (which looks very similar to the one used in James Wan's earlier film, Dead Silence), but it doesn't really evolve into anything and the screen time devoted to it could perhaps have been better served fleshing out the Warrens or the Perron family a little more. For some reason, the doll even makes it onto a lot of the promotional material even though it has hardly anything to do with the movie. At just under two hours in length, The Conjuring avoids dragging itself out unnecessarily, largely due to the fact that it is much better paced than many similar films. Despite that though, it could have used some of its runtime better.

As with Insidious, Paranormal Activity and just about any modern horror film, The Conjuring is unhappy to close the book on things and the ending hints that another film is likely to take place. With this first instalment, things look very good for a follow-up, even if the events aren't all that original.

The Conjuring was released in UK theatres on August 2nd.

© 2013 LudoLogic


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)