The Conjuring is conventional but its well made design, well crafted plot, and sympathetic performances turn it into an efficiently creepy and atmospheric film with a retro vibe.

“The Conjuring” tells the true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga), world renowned paranormal investigators, who were called to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most horrifying case of their lives. — (C) WB

The Conjuring, which reminds me of the equally creepy The Orphanage, is an efficiently assembled film of familiar pieces. It takes time to build its story, present the setting, and develop its scares.

Instead of cutting corners to get on with the big bad CGI, the audience is introduced to the characters. The supporting cast is big, but the minor roles are nuanced enough to make you sympathize with the afflicted family.

Tracking shots, clever use of shadows, period details, sound mixing, and well timed horror tricks all combine into one creepy and atmospheric film. Little use of digital effects in favor of practical ones make it scary. The scares doesn’t look cheap or contrived.

All of this is backed by strong performances by the whole cast. Vera Farmiga and Lili Taylor stand out. Farmiga gives an understated performance while the underrated Taylor goes all out with a convincing one.

The Conjuring is conventional. It doesn’t offer anything new nor tries to reinvent horror tropes and themes. But it’s exceptionally good at what it does and sets out what it intends to do with aplomb.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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