DVD Release Date: October 22, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: July 19, 2013
Rating: Rated R for sequences of disturbing violence and terror
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Run Time: 112 minutes
Director: James Wan
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Kyla Deaver

"There’s something horrible happening in my house," Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor, Being Flynn) confides. "I have five daughters who are scared to death."

If you're the sort who enjoys hair-raising stories of creepy dolls, apparitions, demonic oppression and possession, and a multitude of other skin-tingling situations, then you’ll love The Conjuring. Reportedly based on a true story, this scary movie really is—as the squealing, whimpering crowd at the screening I attended will attest. (In the interest of full disclosure I should admit that I watched parts of this movie through one squinted eye and occasionally concentrated on taking notes in order to avoid looking at the screen).

Set in Rhode Island in 1971, The Conjuring introduces the Perron family as they move into their dream home, a lovely old farmhouse in the country. A nice young couple with five daughters ranging from teen to toddler, the Perrons look forward to enjoying their new home. Problem is, they're not the only ones who live there. It isn't long before the other occupants make themselves known. Young April (newcomer Kyla Deaver) finds an imaginary playmate who isn't so imaginary. There really is a monster hiding in the closet. The things that (literally) go bump in the night might just kill them.

One of the most disturbing things about the demonic activity in the Perrons' house—other than the fact that it exists at all—is that so much of it is focused on the children. The girls are terrorized in their beds, thrown around the room, and threatened by spirits who tell them it "wants my family dead." However, it's Mom Carolyn who gets the worst of it. She's a good woman trying to keep her brood safe in the worst possible circumstances. She’s willing to try anything... which is where the Warrens come in.

The Warrens are a pair of "demonologists" who go about helping people who are having issues of the paranormal kind. The Conjuring is said to be based on the case files of this real-life couple who were also portrayed in The Amityville Horror. Ed (Patrick Wilson, The Switch) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air) view their work as a calling. "God brought us together for a reason," Lorraine tells her husband, "and this is it." Both devout Catholics, Ed is an expert on demons whose work is respected by clergy while Lorraine has a certain "sensitivity" that gives her discernment into the spirit world. Fully aware of the danger, Ed and Lorraine agree to help the Perrons battle the evil that inhabits their home and torments their family.

Speaking of religion, you may have noticed the faith-based marketing strategy of this movie. It's true that the Warrens try to get rid of the demons through Scripture and commands to come out in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They also debunk "friendly ghost" foolishness by outing spirits as demonic presences, so in a way this is a faith-based film. However, it's also scary, violent, and filled with images that I don't think anyone really needs to see in order to verify that God is more powerful than demons.