The Conjuring

Rated 3.0

This film is purportedly pulled from the files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, real-life “demonologists” best known for their involvement with the events that inspired the 1977 book (and subsequent 1979 and 2005 films) The Amityville Horror. That case, in which a family's new house was possessed by demons and subsequently exorcised, has since been exposed as a hoax and the Warrens as charlatans. The Conjuring however, paints them as credible and concerned experts, and thus the film plays like an unofficial Amityville prequel, only with amplified shrieks and the now necessary Paranormal Activity-era verisimilitude. Director James Wan (Saw) delivers effective scares, showing more interest in sinewy camera moves and building a slow creep than in mindless gore, but the performances are a mixed bag, and the script repeatedly seeks refuge in the familiar.