1Roger and Carolyn Perron move into a 17th-century Rhode Island farmhouse with their five daughters. Complete with a basement filled with antiques, and spacious enough for their daughters to play “hide and clap,” the Perrons are delighted with their historic fixer-upper. But, the thrill of their new digs is short-lived—especially at the witching hour of 3:07 am.

Foul smells of rotten meat, banging doors, and menacing apparitions plague the Perrons. They summon demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren and learn that a “dark entity haunts” their house, their land, and perhaps something or someone else. And “by the power of god,” the Warrens set out to “condemn” that spirit “back to hell.”  

Bloody Rundown

Gifted with a plot of actual events, director James Wan masters a strategic chronology of two families intertwined by a haunting. In 1971, famed demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren were recruited to cleanse the Perron family’s farmhouse of evil spirits.

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Largely based on the Warren’s case files, with both Lorraine Warren and the Perron family’s eldest daughter, Andrea, serving as consultants, the film was written by twin brothers Chad and Carey W. Hayes.

Produced by Tony DeRosa-Grund, Rob Cowan, and Peter Safran, the film also touches upon the Warren’s renowned case of the Annabelle doll, as well as that house of horrors in Amityville. (Safran would later produce the film’s offshoot Annabelle (2014) with Wan.)

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Annabelle’s director, John R. Leonetti, served as The Conjuring’s cinematographer, and helped achieve the film’s haunting aura, one that is concurrently retro and inventive. Joseph Bishara composed the ominous, otherworldly score, which sounds modern yet primitive. A longtime collaborator with Wan, Bishara also appears in the film as the demonic witch Bathsheba Sherman.

7The Conjuring boasts great performances with the always authentic Lili Taylor and the consistent Ron Livingston in the roles of Carolyn and Roger Perron. Patrick Wilson, star of Wan’s Insidious series, portrayed Ed Warren while Vera Farmiga was a dead ringer for Lorraine. The actresses who played the Perron children gave exceptional performances, equal to those of the more seasoned cast members. Of course this long overdue account of the Warrens could not be complete without a cameo from Lorraine. She is featured in the college classroom during the Warren’s presentation.

This harrowing depiction is artfully executed, and, at times, downright petrifying. Who knew any variation of “Hide-and-Go-Seek” could be so spooky! The Conjuring leaves the viewer wanting more, and for that, the film merits major applause (and more than a “third clap”).  Then again, such greatness is expected as The Conjuring is brought to you by the guy who created Saw (2004).  

Die-Anne’s Diatribe

11I found this movie very scary. However, the Hollywood saccharin that sporadically seeped in was nauseating, and not in a good way. Additionally, one aspect of the exorcism scene was more humorous than horrifying, thanks in part to the CGI that was not used during the previous scenes. Still, I highly recommend The Conjuring; it’s a fresh spin on the greats of yesteryear.

Plot Mutilator

Purchased at auction with no knowledge of the property’s dreadful history, Roger and Carolyn Perron, along with their five daughters, endure inexplicable terror at their antiquated farmhouse. With the help of the Warrens, they discover the culprit—the ghost of the farm’s original owner.

Still 6 from The ConjuringAccused witch, Bathsheba Sherman, sacrificed her infant to Satan, and then, before hanging herself, cursed all inhabitants of her property for eternity. Several murders and suicides had since ensued as diabolical Bathsheba seeks to demonically possess.

And Bathsheba’s latest target is yet another matriarch—Carolyn Perron.  

Deadly Details

Director ∞ James Wan
Producers ∞ Tony DeRosa-Grund, Peter Safran, and Rob Cowan
Screenwriters ∞ Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes
Music ∞ Joseph Bishara
Cinematographer ∞ John R. Leonetti
Editor ∞ Kirk M. Morri
Special Effects ∞  David Beavis, Susan Beavis, Michael Hauck,
     David Hill, et al. 
Studio ∞ The Safran Company, Evergreen Media Group,
     and New Line Cinema
Distributor ∞ Warner Bros.
Release Date ∞ July 2013
Running time ∞ 112 minutes
Country ∞ United States
Language ∞ English
 
Cast ∞
Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren 
Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren 
Lili Taylor as Carolyn Perron 
Ron Livingston as Roger Perron 
Shanley Caswell as Andrea Perron 
Hayley McFarland as Nancy Perron 
Joey King as Christine Perron 
Mackenzie Foy as Cindy Perron 
Kyla Deaver as April Perron 
Shannon Kook as Drew 
John Brotherton as Brad 
Sterling Jerins as Judy Warren 
Marion Guyot as Georgiana 
Morganna Bridgers as Debbie 
Amy Tipton as Camilla 
Joseph Bishara as Bathsheba Sherman 
Rose Bachtel as Leah 
J. Donovan Nelson as David 
Christof Veillon as Maurice 
Steve Coulter as Father Gordon 
Desi Domo as Suicide Maid 
Dusty as Sadie the Dog