More than a "horror" film, The Conjuring is an excellent thriller. There's incredible cinematic value in James Wan's work that shouldn't be overlooked based on the label it gets. Strong performances, intelligent directing and important character work make this one of the most fascinating thrillers of the last 5 years.
For a film with a haunted house/possession concept that's been done and re-done to exhaustion, it manages to keep things remarkably fresh. Great atmosphere, with a a really cool 70s vibe, awesome and fun scares and just beautifully shot and put together. It's simply time for Wan to do different stuff, he's too good.
Genuinely creepy and well-acted haunted house yarn from James Wan. Scares are in abundance even if the tactics are repetitive, and the religious overtones, while unimaginative and a little grating, aren't as pronounced as they could've been. I also cared about the characters, who are earnest without being maudlin, and that's more than I can say for most horror films. Further proof Wan loves his creepy clown dolls.
Occasionally a cannily made chiller, but just as often this exhibits the problem I have with most modern horror movies: a series of long takes of people slowly walking towards an impending surprise. It's not only repetitive and uninspired, but the strategy dilutes the film's terror with each iteration. Its only scares completely evaporate after a split second.
Somehow they managed to put almost all the clichés of horror movies (haunted house, possession, exorcism, creepy doll, mediums, witches...) into one and still made it look serious, creepy and fairly entertaining... but kind of overrated. Vera Farmiga has a very nice role and she's the stand-out star of "The Conjuring". I'm not sure if this is worthy of a sequel... Unless the Warrens take on a much more original case!
[Spoilers] Intelligent demon isn't keen on a house-share with new neighbours; bad omens when it starts by taking out the only intelligent member of the family (the dog). Overrated and over-elaborate retelling of a true tale, although a towering masterpiece of Western art compared to Wan's breakthrough flick "Saw".