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348 of 375 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rated R for being scary! How rare is that?
James Wan is a horror director that might have finally peaked with this one. His first SAW film was the best of the bunch and while Insidious had flaws, it also had some great scare moments and visuals. The Conjuring is a near perfect ghost/demonic possession movie. The scares are not cheap and they are 90% effective. A couple felt a little forced, but overall this is one...
Published 17 months ago by Monkdude

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Scary, But Ends Over-the-Top
One of the first things I heard about when moving to Connecticut was Ed and Lorraine Warren. Last night (night before Halloween) Ms. Warren gave a lecture to a sold-out crowd at SCSU. Not only The Conjuring, but many other movies have been created based off of their work, such as The Haunted and The Haunting in Connecticut. They are also featured in the book THE...
Published 13 months ago by Ryan J. Dejonghe


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348 of 375 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rated R for being scary! How rare is that?, July 20, 2013
By 
Monkdude (Hampton, Virginia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Conjuring (Blu-Ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
James Wan is a horror director that might have finally peaked with this one. His first SAW film was the best of the bunch and while Insidious had flaws, it also had some great scare moments and visuals. The Conjuring is a near perfect ghost/demonic possession movie. The scares are not cheap and they are 90% effective. A couple felt a little forced, but overall this is one the creepiest movies I have seen in theaters.

Based on a "true story" that takes place in 1971, a family becomes the victim of some evil forces in their new house. Two paranormal investigators are brought in to gather evidence. They are based on the famous couple that also investigated The Amityville Horror years later.

The acting is great all around from the kids and adults. I like how they didn't use any big name actors. Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson and Ron Livingston are relatively well known, but thankfully no huge star power here to completely take you out of the film.

Very little gore, no foul language or nudity in a horror movie? Believe it or not, this thing earned the R rating for pure scares alone. Now don't get too overhyped or anything. I personally didn't jump in my seat or want to cover my eyes (though many scenes are quite chilling), but plenty of people around me did.

This is the first movie that has made me want to review it in a month. The Lone Ranger (2 and 1/2 out of 5 stars) and Pacific Rim (3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars) didn't surprise me enough to warrant my time reviewing them.

The Conjuring is my favorite film so far this year. Let's leave it at that.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT'S YOUR NAME? WHO'S YOUR DADDY?, August 3, 2013
This review is from: The Conjuring (DVD) (DVD)
Based on a true story, the film opens with an incident in which Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren explain the difference between ghosts and demonic possession, both being similar to owning cats. Ed has a room full of artifacts that would make "Riley's Believe it or Not" museum green with envy. Hey don't touch the monkey!

Meanwhile the Perron family has moved into a house in Harrisville, RI, in 1971 BF (before flashlights). They discover their basement door has been boarded over, because God knows spirits can't pass through wood. The Perron family has a pack of screaming daughters, just right for a horror flick.

Needless to say the plot and subplot come together with wonderfully horrific results. Like most films the creepiness builds to a climax. This particular film has some minor religious overtones to it as one would expect with an exorcism type production. Good film to watch in the dark. Take the kids. Zombie soundtrack.

Parental Guide: No f-bombs, sex, or nudity. WARNING: Does use the word "groovy" and "The Brady Bunch" is on TV in the background.
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184 of 213 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Effective Cinematic Haunt of this Generation, July 18, 2013
This review is from: The Conjuring (DVD) (DVD)
Gut wrenching, beautifully filmed and perfectly paced, THE CONJURING isn't just one of the best supernatural chillers of recent years - it truly deserves a place next to "The Exorcist," "The Innocents" and "Poltergeist" as one of the more memorable cinematic excursions into the paranormal ever produced. That may sound like high praise, but walking out of director James Wan's stunning thriller, I was hard pressed to think of other horror movies that have captivated me from start to end as much as this one did.

Chad and Carey Hayes' screenplay takes the true story of a Rhode Island family's haunting in the early `70s and embellishes it into a film that grips you from its earliest frames, while Wan - the director who single-handedly launched a decades worth of gory "torture porn" pictures with the original "Saw" - here demonstrates a far greater command of the screen with what many have already called a directorial tour de force. In fact, Wan utilizes a documentary-styled approach that's closer to William Friedkin's 1973 classic than any other supernatural film I can recall, and expertly works with John R. Leonetti's cinematography and a masterful sound design to create one of the more brilliantly directed pictures this genre has seen in years.

The Perron family - led by parents Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston - move into their home in northern Rhode Island and quickly notice standbys of any film haunting: bumps in the night, unseen forces that cause their dog to bark, and an occasional chill that permeates the air. Their five young daughters, though, are quickly put into the crosshair of a supernatural entity that wants more than to just make its presence known, physically announcing itself by grabbing the girls and causing bruises to Taylor that she believes are just the result of an iron deficiency. Ultimately, the Perrons call in paranormal experts Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Fermiga and Patrick Wilson), the earliest "Ghost Hunters," who soon realize the family isn't suffering from a noisy oil burner on its last legs causing a ruckus.

"The Conjuring" carries an R rating but the film's violence is minimal and its profanity nearly non-existent. Wan eschews the gratuitousness of his past works in favor of a less is more approach that's just as scary for what you don't see as what you do (particularly when young Andrea Perron first encounters a ghost, standing in the corner of her room but only visible to her - not the audience). At first, it might be easy to resist the movie's familiar structure, but as the story unfolds, it's nearly impossible not to get wrapped up in the family's plight as the supernatural occurrences increase. The effectiveness is all due to Wan's direction and the uniformly believable performances of Taylor, Fermiga and Wilson, not to mention the unaffected young actresses playing the tormented Perron girls. Yet even with all the chilling moments, you come to care about these people, and the emotional catharsis that closes the picture is something few films in this genre have been able to duplicate (kudos to Joseph Bishara for a moody, effective score as well, with Mark Isham contributing a poignant "family theme" that plays a significant role in the film's concluding moments).

"The Conjuring" is at a disadvantage compared to other films in its genre because it's had to follow classic films like "The Exorcist," "The Haunting" and "Poltergeist." For viewers resistant to horror films in general, there's probably little here they haven't seen before, and one could argue the more explicitly visceral elements of the haunting are its weakest asset. Nevertheless, Wan's movie grabs you and doesn't let go until the credits have rolled - and even then, you might be checking the rear view mirror, just to make sure nothing's followed you home. That's frightful filmmaking at its finest, and "The Conjuring" is unquestionably the most effective cinematic haunt of this generation.
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97 of 117 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice, suitably spooky movie, July 22, 2013
This review is from: The Conjuring (DVD) (DVD)
Before I get started on this review, I want everyone to ignore that infamous little phrase that gets attached to films like this. You know which one I'm talking about: "Based on a true story." I could go on about the trustworthyness of the Warrens or the lack thereof, but the best thing to do with this film is to ignore all of that. If you go into this with the idea that the Warrens are shameless hucksters, then you'll miss out on enjoying all that this film has to offer. If you go into this thinking that every frame is true or trying to explain to someone how all of this could've happened, you'll suffer the same fate. Just enjoy this for what it is: one of the first mainstream horror films released to the theaters in the summer in a long while.

Now on to the proper review.

I was thoroughly impressed by this movie. Supposedly this did insanely well when they ran this through test screenings and I can see why. The Conjuring had a lot to offer and didn't try to fill its running time by checking off every box on the horror movie cliche checklist. There are some tried and true formats here to be sure, but they're fairly well executed. The movie makes use of a lot of jump scares, so if you're irritated by those I would probably wait until this hits the rental sites. They're all done in good fun and are for the most part genuinely spooky, although I'll say that the jump scares were far more effective in the beginning of the movie.

The acting was excellent in this and whomever thought to hire Lili Taylor should get a huge pat on the back. She's probably the strongest actor in this piece, second only to Vera Farmiga. The ladies genuinely rocked this movie fairly hard. The guys were good as well, but let's not pretend that they were there for anything other than to be played off the women.

Now as far as story goes, this was decent. It's actually a fairly simplistic story line when you get down to it. There wasn't a lot of gussying up of the subject matter, although there was somewhat of a side story that surrounded the Warrens' daughter, the demon, and a doll from the beginning of the movie. I do have to admit that I'm not sure what I felt about that part. The doll's acquisition was shown at the beginning of the movie and largely had nothing to do with what the Perrons went through, except for showing up in one scene. The scare surrounding this scene was decent, but I kind of feel that it was one of the two weakest scenes in the film. The other weakest scene? I hate to say it, but it was the showdown in the end. I liked it well enough and it was entertaining, but it also felt slightly anticlimactic. Most viewers won't feel let down by the scene, although my friends and I all agreed that although this was an incredibly strong horror movie, the ending did sort of leave a little to be desired in comparison with the rest of the film.

In the end though, the concerns are all fairly minor quibbles. This will still be an excellent film to go see in the theaters and something that I'd recommend for horror fans- especially those who love the older stuff. The director took great pains to make the opening and ending feel like something you'd have seen in the older days of horror, which I greatly appreciated. I'd say that this film is good enough to where it's something I'd outright own when it releases on DVD and assuming that the sequel will be as well done as this was, I'll be there on the opening weekend for whatever other movie they make.

On a side note, if you can, see this with a more full theater. I was lucky enough that my fellow theater goers were excellent companions to watch a movie with. They reacted at all the right times, which made everything in the movie that much more scary for myself and my friends.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Conjuring, October 21, 2013
This review is from: The Conjuring (Blu-Ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
This film is what i would call one of the best films of 2013. Filled with fear,terror, and a new faith in God. I have never been more frightened in my life. A true story that shows a family coming together, through this supernatural horror. Vera Farmiga does an excellent job in her portral of Lorrianne Warren. This movie is a great movie! NOT FOR KIDS!! Dont watch this with anyone under the age of 15! Very scary, yet so good!!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!!, October 17, 2013
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This is one of the best horror movies I have seen. I truly felt the fear of the unknown. Happily, it lacked any gruesome scenes and just gave you a great scare! Blood and gore are good for shock-value, but it's not scary.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Scary, But Ends Over-the-Top, October 31, 2013
One of the first things I heard about when moving to Connecticut was Ed and Lorraine Warren. Last night (night before Halloween) Ms. Warren gave a lecture to a sold-out crowd at SCSU. Not only The Conjuring, but many other movies have been created based off of their work, such as The Haunted and The Haunting in Connecticut. They are also featured in the book THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, which has been the basis of ten films.

As for The Conjuring, it begins with the story of Annabelle, the possessed doll (Google "the Warrens Annabelle" for a creepy tale). I wish the movie ventured more into this tale, but they had to move on to the haunting that took place in Rhode Island.

Once viewers are brought to Rhode Island, everything moves at a nice slow-burned pace. Any creepy moments are signified by the shaking of the camera. Admittedly, this would be a lame technique if used throughout, but it's not. About halfway through the movie, things ramp-up to full scare mode. Things fly off of walls, shadows move out of the corners, doors slam, and the monster shows itself.

Everything worked together nicely until about the end. Movies based in reality are particularly scary to me, but when the "this is somewhat believable" moment is broken, the movie lost its effect. I don't want to reveal end-of-movie spoilers, but I think it's safe to say what happens to the person needing exorcised was a bit over-the-top.

Overall the movie was very well done and the acting crew did a phenomenal job. I can't say it's the scariest movie I've ever seen, but it was enough to leave me with the creepy jitters for the rest of the night.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Stupids Will Think It's a Masterpiece ... The Dying Breed of Smarts Will Roll Their Eyes, November 10, 2013
The product being churned out by the film industry continues to degenerate. It's getting discouraging.<---Make that sentence past tense, come to think of it.

Yet another gazillion bucks (relatively speaking) are spent to assemble a team of capable actors, set designers and effects artists, etc. More millions are spent crafting a trailer that truly does intrigue viewers (not as easy a thing to do as many people might believe), a massive ad-campaign is launched and, finally, upon release, most of us who still possess the ability to think in linear terms discover that no one bothered to hire writers with the talent needed to craft an entire and compelling film narrative. SPOILERS AHEAD. Let's get to the film.

There's no reason this could not have been a gripping movie, given the money spent and the team of actors involved. A few original ideas and some deft plotting could have turned this up several notches. As it is, we have a textbook derivative "story" (supposedly "based on true events" -- which is the first reason to roll one's eyes, whenever Hollywood says that, these days) and a few clever ideas thrown randomly into the proceedings. A large family moves into a farmhouse and discovers it to be haunted. They are perplexed. Meanwhile, a couple of ghost-hunters "with a past" are drawn into the mix. One of the most STUPID atrocities committed right off the bat is that the Lady Ghost-Hunter (Huntress?) reveals to the audience the exact nature of the haunting in its entirety. A cackling old witch related to someone involved with the Salem witch scandals used to own the property and hung herself from a tree in the front yard after sacrificing her baby and has threatened to punish anyone who gets involved with her land thereafter. Well, thank you very much! Aside from that being a completely moronic back-story (see below), why tell the audience all of this before the movie gets hopping? Why not keep it a mystery to add an element of suspense for the viewer, and trust me, this film *needs* suspense. Why not make this backstory something the ghost-hunters must unravel during their ongoing investigation? Forget about that helpful hint from Plot Construction 101.

Everything that follows involves your garden-variety Things That Go Bump in the Night, Something Invisible Pulled My Leg, The Clocks Stop a Little After 3AM!, Let's Set Up Some Religious Icons Around the House, Little Amy's Got an Imaginary Playmate, and Who Knew There Was a Boarded-Up Cellar in This Place? drivel. All of these motifs have been used before and to much greater cinematic effect. The whole thing plays like a dreary mashup of Poltergeist + An American Haunting + Paranormal Activity + The Exorcist + The Amityville Horror + Name Your Rip-Off Scare-Flick. Overall, there's not a frightening thing about this movie's impact, though a couple of scary images and gags do work well (the imagery of the oncoming storm and the brief shape-shifting of the clothesline bedsheet, the spiral-mirrored music box, a creepy game of clap-tag). A worthwhile film is not made by a few clever sight-gags, however. The actors, from Lily Taylor to Vera Farmiga to Ron Livingston all do fine work. Even the kids are convincing and obviously talented. Patrick Wilson is about as wooden and silly as the Annabelle Doll that plays an unintentionally funny cameo role, but no matter how competent or incompetent the cast, they can't do much with a hackneyed storyline. On the plus-side, the sets are excellent --very 1971-era authentic-- and the cinematography is solid. Kudos to the crews responsible for those elements. The smartest character in this botched affair was the dog, who knew a stinker (and a haunted house) when she smelled one and had the good sense to croak in her third scene, albeit without much emotional resonance or exploration. How vapid.

This brings me back to the foolishness of this film's backstory and the precipitous revelation of that backstory (see above). Is the crazy old witch a ghost, or a demon, or what? In the very first scene of this flick, the Warrens explicitly counsel a bunch of nitwits that ghosts have no power to cause physical harm. Only demons "which have never walked in human form" can do that stuff. Well, this human witch apparently hung herself and stayed on in the house (or around the property) as a ghost. That is, until she possesses the mother ... which would make her a demon? But she was human. And if this witch-ghostie-demon has the power to summon storms and flocks of birds and levitate and teleport and make things fly through the air, why did she hang herself from a tree in her nightgown in the first place? What was she afraid of, with all that power? Gah! This plot has more holes than a bag of Swiss Cheese slices and there's no rescuing a film this ultimately stupid and obvious and gimmicky and incoherent and half-baked. Too bad for Lili Taylor and actors like Farmiga and Livingston; again, they all do their best but it's sad to see them in an expensive project unworthy of their talents. I would like my money back on this one, without doubt. Look to classic older films for your horror fix, viewers. Do you want to know what is the only scary thing about this mess?

The majority of people seem to have lost all ability to discern quality from crap. Think about THAT in the wee small hour of midnight and shiver.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SCARY AS Shhh....., November 4, 2013
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Good scary movie!!!! You will be scared to go to sleep or go in the basement or other rooms in your house. The first 10 minutes is really really scary and it gets worse, that Doll, Annabell n them Nurses are just too scary!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars scariest movie of my life, November 1, 2013
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Not that I'm really all that into horror movies, but my wife and I decided that a scary movie on Halloween would be apt. Well "The Conjuring" didn't disappoint! The whole movie creeps you out, there were a couple of scenes where my wife literally screamed during the movie. I still haven't slept well three days later. Really good scare.
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The Conjuring (Blu-Ray + DVD)
The Conjuring (Blu-Ray + DVD) by James Wan (Blu-ray - 2013)
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