It's all standard horror film stuff, right down to the ominously creaking doors (a little WD-40 would go a long way on those hinges). Sometimes those classic situations lead to advice from the audience, which of course the characters onscreen ignore. Must scary movie characters always do the same dumb things? Everyone in the theater knew better than to explore the dark, creepy basement in the middle of the night. But never mind, it's part of the genre. There are plenty of jump-out-of-your-skin moments here. Their impact is a testament to the skill of the director, with a special shout out the lighting and photography. Shadows are practically characters in themselves and the quality of the photography acts like a window into the seventies. Plus, all the actors make their beleaguered characters such likable folks the audience is rooting for them to win over the forces of darkness.

Naturally, the spirits in the house don't take kindly to the Warren's interference and things get ugly fast. With Ed and Lorraine firmly on God's side and the creepies clearly on the other, it's a battle to save not just a family's home, but their souls. "We're not really a churchgoing family," Roger Perron (Ron Livingston, Music Within) confesses. To which Ed replies, "You may want to rethink that."

After watching The Conjuring, shaken members of the audience may want to take Ed's advice.

CAUTIONS (contains spoilers):

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Only prescription drugs, nothing abused.
  • Language/Profanity: A couple of da** and he**; one scene has a few exclamations of “God da** it” and the demons are said to be “pi**ed off” by religious artifacts.
  • Sex/Nudity: Married couple has a loaded conversation about "breaking in the house" as they go to bed and when the woman discovers a bruise the next morning she asks if he "did that to her."
  • Violent/Frightening/Intense:  Note the rating - the majority of the movie is violent, frightening, and intense. Demons and demon-possessed individuals are shown multiple times. Figures are shown in the shadows and not shown at all but felt by the children who are grabbed by them. Much of the demonic activity is aimed at the children, who are clearly in danger. A possessed woman chases after her child with the intent to kill. A dead, rotting body is seen hanging (and then swings at a live person). A presence flies through a window and bruises a woman. A woman is possessed, levitated, attacks people, spontaneously bleeds, and eventually vomits out black bile. Taken as a whole, this film is in no way suitable for young viewers and even adults mentioned concern at being able to sleep after watching it.
  • Spiritual Themes: This is a story of demonic oppression and possession. The Warrens fight back with Scripture and a prayer book. They mention that a priest comes by their house on a regular basis to bless it, partly to counteract the museum of possessed items they have in their home (the idea being it’s better to keep all that stuff in a ‘safe’ place rather than bouncing around outside spreading evil). Ed explains that demons often do things like bang doors in threes as an insult to the Trinity. The original source of the Perron's problems is said to be a witch who sacrificed her own child. Lorraine says, "She used her God-given gift as the ultimate offense against Him." On the plus side, the film shows demonic activity as real, serious, and nothing to play with; in the end God wins. On the minus side, why would anyone want to have these images and sounds in their head?

Publication date: July 19, 2013