The Conjuring 2013

Critics score:
86 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post: In The Conjuring, the scary casts out the spirit of the silly, permanently, and with a vengeance. Read more

Jake Coyle, Associated Press: The Conjuring is an unusually sturdy piece of haunted-house genre filmmaking. Read more

Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine/Vulture: The damned thing works you so well that you may even consider leaving halfway through, for fear you'll have a heart attack. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: A trim, effective haunted-house spook show, "The Conjuring" is both a throwback to early-'70s real estate shriekers like "The Amityville Horror" and a big-studio response to the "Paranormal Activity" found-footage genre. Read more

Kate Erbland, MSN Movies: ... it surpasses the hallmarks of its genre with an actually dramatic storyline and all-around solid acting. Just don't think you can go see it alone. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: The dread gathers and surges while the blood scarcely trickles in "The Conjuring," a fantastically effective haunted-house movie. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: This saga of demonic possession deploys the full audio firepower of modern multiplexes, and does so with brain-battering frequency, like a ghostbusting version of a Japanese Taiko drum ensemble. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: One of the scarier haunted house/demon possession movies in recent years, it brings to mind '70s supernatural horror films such as The Exorcist with its stillness, steady build of suspense and handsome cinematography. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: James Wan's haunted-house saga is well-crafted, convincingly acted, surprisingly restrained and scary as hell. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: A sensationally entertaining old-school freakout and one of the smartest, most viscerally effective thrillers in recent memory. Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: As an exercise in classical scare tactics, delivered through an escalating series of primo setpieces, The Conjuring is often supremely effective. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: James Wan proves himself to be moving quickly up the ranks of terror auteurs. The timing, pacing and character movement are outstanding. And it's scary as hell. Read more

Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader: It's generic and lazy as storytelling, but this time there's almost enough playful camerawork to distract from the feeble conception. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: An "Amityville Horror" for a new century (and a far better movie than that 1979 hit), yet firmly rooted, without being slavish or self-conscious, in the visual language of 1970s filmmaking. Read more

Adam Graham, Detroit News: As "The Conjuring" progresses, the scares don't register beyond standard issue horror gotchas. They're as telegraphed as the musical cues alerting you something spooky is about to happen. Read more

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: Wan masterfully tightens the vise on the audience's nerves, using mood and sound effects for shocks that never feel cheap (the harmless kids' game of hide-and-clap has never been so bloodcurdling). Read more

William Goss, All the contorting girls and pea-soup vomit in the world can hardly compete with a blood-stained sheet and a well-placed doll. Read more

Wesley Morris, Grantland: Every hand that reaches into a wardrobe, every nervous trip into that basement just gets on your nerves. Satan needs to get over himself. Read more

Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter: Taut and effective edge-of-the-seat horror, delivered with style and an especially haunting performance by Vera Farmiga. Read more

Charlie McCollum, San Jose Mercury News: Working with cinematographer John R. Leonetti and editor Kirk Morri, Wan carefully crafts each setpiece so that each visual punch has maximum impact to a nerve-shredding musical soundtrack from composer Joseph Bihara. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: An uncommonly intense and frightening experience. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: What saves the movie is a surprisingly fine cast and deft direction from James Wan, the horror veteran who gave us "Saw." Read more

Bruce Diones, New Yorker: Wan ... builds the many bumps in the night into a small Hitchcockian symphony of terror by way of long, eerie tracking shots, dramatic silences, and sudden scares that are frighteningly immersive. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: [Wan's] entire film is possessed - by other films. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: "The Conjuring" wants Dan and Lorraine to seem like Indiana Jones-style hunters of the supernatural, but in this basic jolt-provider, they're as fascinating as the Jersey Devil. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: "The Conjuring'' depends more on its excellent cast and atmospheric direction than cheap gimmicks to raise hairs on the back of your neck. Which it does, quite frequently. Read more

Michael Sragow, Orange County Register: [Wan] cuts The Conjuring into two halves -- an exhilarating haunted-house thriller and a grueling post-Exorcist horror film -- but they don't come back together in a living, breathing whole. Read more

Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer: Unexpectedly fresh, alive, and vibrant - and wonderfully traumatizing. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: If I was to use a single word to describe The Conjuring, it would be "intense." Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Treads familiar territory, but with style. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: It scared the living crap out of me. Only at the movies is that a compliment. So kudos to The Conjuring for putting fresh fire into the overworked haunted-house genre. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Horror buffs will find [it] a highly satisfying, well-crafted film in a classical mode, with plenty of scares and very little gore. Read more

Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle: The horror movie is artfully crafted from the first scares to the closing credits, with a bold retro vibe. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Without recourse to the gruesome S&M excesses of his "Saw" franchise, Wan conjures the chill of a demon breathing down your neck. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: With its forked tongue planted loosely in cheek, this haunted-house flick is enjoyably retro in both style and substance. Read more

Ian Buckwalter, The Atlantic: ...there were moments where it seemed the entire theater was holding its breath. We were united in one feeling: terror. Read more

Phil Brown, Globe and Mail: The Conjuring uses every stock scare in the horror movie playbook for a dumb, yet charmingly traditional haunted house picture that manages to feel more retro than rehashed. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: This is a horror film where a pair of suddenly clapping hands gives you the heebie-jeebies, and Wan doesn't cheat with his jump scares. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: The Conjuring doesn't try to reinvent the tropes of horror movies, whether it's ghosts or demons or exorcisms, but Fred Astaire didn't invent tap-dancing, either. Read more

Cath Clarke, Time Out: Wan builds mounting dread with silence and suspense, lingering the camera unsettlingly long here, creaking a door there. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: It takes a retro-fashioned winner like The Conjuring to remind us that if the creaky, old house ain't broke, don't fix it. Read more

Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice: Damned if director James Wan, the auteur of Saw's rusted-edge cruelty, isn't an ace with enjoyable spookhouse trap-springing. Read more