I've waited many years for a horror film to scare me again the way "Poltergeist" or "The Omen" did back in the pre-digital days. Finally the wait is over. I can happily say that "The Conjuring" produces real goosebumps and plenty of "jump" moments. The film genuinely scares.
Based on an actual case from the files of Ed and Lorraine Warren (true life ghost hunters), the film is about the Perron Family and the spirits that haunted their home in the early seventies. How much of the film is actually true doesn't really matter. What does however, is that it makes good on its promises to give you the chills on a hot summer night.
The Warrens are played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. They are both excellent and one can easily see a franchise developed of films from their case studies. This film even starts with some scary moments from an earlier case that spills over into the current story in a very creepy way. The Perrons are played by Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston. Its great to see Ms. Taylor back in film and well cast in a very demanding role. As the mother of five daughters living in a haunted house, she is a major focus of the plot and most of the thrills and chills involve her character. Mr. Livingston does a good job as the caring husband trying to protect his family.
Besides the strong acting, so much credit must be given to director James Wan. Having directed the original "Saw" and "Insidious", Mr. Wan knows a thing or two about scary movies. Here, he goes "old school" and scares without the "torture porn" or gory bloodletting of so many films today that pass for "horror". His lightning, pacing, music choices, and editing all contribute to the success of the film.
"The Conjuring" owes an obvious nod to "Poltergeist" with a little "Exorcist" thrown in for good measure. Mr. Wan has one misstep with "The Birds" scene which was unnecessary and seemed forced. Everything else works however and if you are a fan of scary movies, "The Conjuring" will definitely not disappoint. I also have to give credit to whomever edited the trailer as they don't give away everything and save plenty of shocks for the film.