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Movie review: ‘The Conjuring’

Posted 3:56pm on Thursday, Jul. 18, 2013

R (sequences of violence and terror); 112 min.

Sadie knows. The dog always knows not to go into the haunted house.

But since this was 1971, and the world, much less Rhode Island’s Perron family, had not seen The Exorcist and the generations of ultra-realistic horror movies and Ghost Hunters TV shows that followed, they didn’t heed the dog’s warnings. The Perrons were in for it.

The Conjuring is like a prequel to 40 years of demonic-possession thrillers, a movie about the original ghost hunters, Ed and Lorraine Warren, and an early case this Amityville Horror couple found so terrifying they never talked about it — “until now!”

James Wan, who made his horror bones with Saw and outgrew torture porn with the superbly spooky Insidious, reunites with his Insidious star Patrick Wilson for this solid and sometimes hair-raising thriller about a haunted house, the family of seven haunted by it and the can-do couple summoned by the Perrons.

Wan and his screenwriters serve up some classic scary situations and provide a decent jolt or three in the “sealed-off basement,” the ghostly shadow in the mirror of an antique jack-in-the-box.

Still, The Conjuring is more solid than sensational and spine-tingling. Think of it as a horror history lesson, the original “based on a true story” to explain those things that go bump in the night.

— Roger Moore,

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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