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Watch The Conjuring (2013), Story, Stars, Reviews & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie

 

The Conjuring (2013)

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.

The Conjuring is a 2013 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan and written by Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes. It is the inaugural film in The Conjuring Universe franchise.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga star as Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators and authors associated with prominent cases of haunting. Their purportedly real-life reports inspired The Amityville Horror story and film franchise.[5] The Warrens come to the assistance of the Perron family, who experienced increasingly disturbing events in their farmhouse in Rhode Island in 1971.

Development of the film began in January 2012, and reports confirmed Wan as the director of a film entitled The Warren Files, later retitled The Conjuring, centering on the alleged real-life exploits of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a married couple who investigated paranormal events. In his second collaboration with Wan, Patrick Wilson starred alongside Vera Farmiga in the main roles of Ed and Lorraine. Production commenced in Wilmington, North Carolina, in February 2012, and scenes were shot in chronological order.

The Conjuring was released in the United States and Canada on July 19, 2013, by Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema. It received positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances, direction, screenplay, atmosphere, and musical score. It grossed over $319 million worldwide against its $20 million budget. A sequel, The Conjuring 2, was released on June 10, 2016.

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The Conjuring (2013) Trailer

 

The Conjuring (2013) Reviews

From “Saw” to “Insidious,” indie horror filmmaker James Wan’s films have always been confrontational in their guileless grand-standing. So it’s not surprising that watching “The Conjuring” is like getting a tour of a haunted house attraction from someone that pushes, and pulls you through every room.

There’s nothing really scary about Wan’s latest because there’s nothing particularly mysterious, or inviting about its proceedings. The film’s relentlessly lame expository dialogue and tedious parade of jump scares are overwhelming in the worst way possible.

Only one in five scares hit home because, while Wan sometimes proves that he can reel viewers in, he usually prefers to strong-arm his audience into submission. Then again, the film’s scenario, scripted by Carey and Chad Hayes (the 2005 “House of Wax” remake), is so thunderously stupid that you probably wouldn’t want to wander around Wan’s film-shaped carnival ride if you could.

“The Conjuring” is as toothless as it is because it’s two different kinds of boring. The film’s plot is explained exhaustively whenever loud noises aren’t blaring, and random objects aren’t teasingly leaping out at you from the corner of your eye. In fact, the Hayes’ brothers are so anxious to explain their “Amityville Horror”-knockoff’s convoluted backstory that they dump information in viewers’ laps three different ways before the film’s opening credits.

First, there’s a dramatization of the 1968 Annabelle Higgins case, a real-life “haunting” that apparently involved a creepy doll, and two dimwitted nubile nurses. Next, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) explain to a rapt collegiate audience that they’re demonologists who specialize in exorcisms. It’s never explicitly explained in the film, but in real life, the Warrens “investigated” the Amityville Horror hoax.

Finally, a ream of text assaults your eyeballs with even more useless information. This movie is set in the early ’70s, is “based on the true story,” and follows the most serious exorcism case in the Warrens’ history. And if you don’t believe the filmmakers, too bad, braaaahm, here’s the movie’s title in huge, bigger-than-Kubrick yellow font; don’t choke on it.

That kind of incessant throat-clearing continues after we’re introduced to the Perrons, a family with five young daughters who just moved into a big house on the edge of a small Massachusetts town. We learn something new about the Perrons and the Warrens in every other scene because they never stop describing themselves to each other. The girls are rambunctious, and miss their old home: “Well, first cute boy she meets, she’ll forget about Jersey.”

The Perrons’ house needs cleaning up: “Whoa! That’s gonna take a lot of elbow grease!” The Warrens are God-fearing, and happily married: “You said that God brought us together for a reason.” And while there are three stages to a haunting (“Infestation, Oppression, Possession”), the Perrons’ new house isn’t haunted—they are (“It’s like stepping on gum: sometimes you take it with you”).

Don’t let the Hayes’ diarrhetic explanations put you off: you can ignore much of what’s being said and understand “The Conjuring” just fine. But a key reason that the film’s barrage of jump scares is as dissatisfying as it is is because the Hayes’ scenario is distressingly light on intelligent characterizations, memorable dialogue, logic.

One might argue that there wouldn’t be much of a movie if characters didn’t make stupid decisions. But it takes a special kind of rocket scientist to enter a room after seeing a ghost with slit wrists whisper (loudly), “Look what she made me do,” then disappear around a corner.

This is a movie where two characters, after experiencing a major traumatic event, express affection for each other by saying, “You did good,” and, “No, you did.” Hokey period details, like Wilson’s Elvis-like flip haircut and sideburns, or Farmiga’s Liberace-style collar ruffles, are meant to lull viewers into complacency. But that kind of bait-and-switch tactic is just annoying in a horror film whose monsters are only as scary as they are fitfully unnerving.

The fact that so many pseudo-spooky scenes in “The Conjuring” involve jump scares is telling. Wan and the Hayes want their film to be judged as a theme park attraction. But they fail to deliver bargain-basement cheap thrills. Even if you ignored the parts of “The Conjuring” that require more than shock-deep emotional involvement, the film’s scares are too monotonous and schematic to be really scary.

Wan and the Hayes only plumbed their ids so much, and consequently only have to offer a creepy doll, a screaming old crone, and dead kids in period dress. These things aren’t that much scarier when they’re flying into your face. There’s nothing holding “The Conjuring” together beyond its creators’ desperate need to needle you.

  • Simon Abrams –  Roger Ebert
  • Simon Abrams is a native New Yorker and freelance film critic whose work has been featured in The New York TimesVanity FairThe Village Voice, and elsewhere.

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The Conjuring (2013) Credits

The Conjuring movie poster

The Conjuring (2013)

Rated R

112 minutes

Cast

Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren

Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren

Ron Livingston as Roger Perron

Lili Taylor as Carolyn Perron

Mackenzie Foy as Cindy

Joey King as Christine Perron

Hayley McFarland as Nancy

Shanley Caswell as Andrea Perron

Sterling Jerins as Judy Warren

Director

  • James Wan

Screenplay

  • Chad Hayes
  • Carey Hayes

Producer

  • Peter Safran

The Conjuring (2013) Plot

In 1971, Roger and Carolyn Perron move into a farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island, with their five daughters: Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy, and April. Their dog, Sadie, refuses to enter the house and the entrance to a cellar is been boarded up. Paranormal events occur within the first few nights. Every clock in the house stops at 3:07 AM. Sadie is found dead in the morning, and Carolyn wakes up with large bruises. She and Christine both encounter a malevolent spirit.

Carolyn contacts demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, who have recently investigated a possessed doll called Annabelle. The Warrens conduct an initial investigation, during which Lorraine, a clairvoyant, sees that dark forces have latched on to the Perron family, and leaving the house will not free them. To gather evidence, they place cameras and bells around the house with the help of their assistant Drew Thomas and police officer Brad Hamilton.

Further research reveals that the house once belonged to an accused witch named Bathsheba Sherman (a relative of Mary Towne Eastey), who sacrificed her week-old baby to the devil and killed herself in 1863 at 3:07 in the morning after cursing all who take her land. There are reports of numerous murders and suicides through the years in the houses that were built on the property.

One morning, Bathsheba appears to Carolyn and fully possesses her. That night, the group hears a spirit luring Cindy into the wardrobe, where she reveals a secret passage. Lorraine enters the passage and falls down to the cellar, where she sees the spirit of a woman whom Bathsheba had possessed long ago and used to kill her child. Bathsheba attacks Nancy; the incident is caught on camera.

The Warrens conclude it is sufficient evidence to receive authorization from the Catholic Church to perform an exorcism but Father Gordon explains that approval would have to come directly from the Vatican because the Perron family aren’t members of the church.

The Warrens’ daughter Judy is attacked in the Warrens’ own home by Bathsheba. The Perron family take refuge at a motel but Carolyn takes Christine and April back to the house to kill them. Ed, Lorraine, and Brad find Carolyn in the cellar trying to stab Christine. Lorraine warns that if they take Carolyn outside the house, Bathsheba will kill her. They tie Carolyn to a chair and Ed attempts the exorcism himself.

Though Carolyn escapes and attempts to kill April, Lorraine is able to call to her by reminding her of a special memory she shared with her family, allowing Ed to complete the exorcism and lift Bathsheba’s curse. Returning home, Ed adds the haunted music box from the Perron’s home to their room of cursed artifacts that they have collected from past cases.

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The Conjuring (2013) Box office

The Conjuring conjured $137.4 million in North America and $182.1 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $319.5 million, against a budget of $20 million.

In North America, the film opened on July 19, 2013, alongside Red 2Turbo and R.I.P.D., and was projected to gross $30–$35 million from 2,903 theaters in its opening weekend. The film earned $3.3 million from its Thursday night showings and $17 million on its first day (including Thursday previews), doing slightly better than The Purge a month earlier.

The film went on to gross $41.9 million in its opening weekend, landing in first place and breaking The Purges record as the biggest opening for an original R-rated horror film. For Warner Bros., The Conjuring surpassed the debut weekend of the distributor’s big-budget film Pacific Rim, which had opened to $37.3 million the weekend prior.[59] While horror films usually drop at least 50% in their second weekend, The Conjuring only dropped 47%, taking in $22.2 million and placing in second behind new release The Wolverine.

After its run in theaters, the film was officially named a box office hit, grossing over fifteen times its production budget with a worldwide total of $318 million.[2] Calculating in all production and promotional expenses, Deadline Hollywood estimated that the film made a total profit of $161.7 million. 

Outside North America, the film had a total gross of $180.6 million from all its international markets. In Australia, it grossed $1.8 million in its debut weekend, placing third at the box office behind The Heat and This Is the End. Its total gross in Australia was $8.2 million. In the United Kingdom, the film opened on August 6 alongside The Smurfs 2, making £2.6 million ($3.3 million) in its opening weekend, and grossing $16.2 million in total there. It had its biggest international gross in Mexico, opening in first place on August 23, where the film made $18.9 million overall.

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The Conjuring (2013) Critical Response

The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports an 86% approval rating based on 223 reviews and an average rating of 7.2/10.

The website’s critical consensus reads, “Well-crafted and gleefully creepy, The Conjuring ratchets up dread through a series of effective old-school scares.” Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 68 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. CinemaScore reported that audiences gave The Conjuring an “A−” grade on a scale of A to F; it was the first horror film to receive an A grade from the company.

In her review following the Los Angeles Film Festival, Sheri Linden of The Hollywood Reporter said, “With its minimal use of digital effects, its strong, sympathetic performances and ace design work, the pic harks back in themes and methods to The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror, not quite attaining the poignancy and depth of the former but far exceeding the latter in sheer cinematic beauty.”

Justin Chang of Variety gave the film a positive review, calling the film “a sensationally entertaining old-school freakout and one of the smartest, most viscerally effective thrillers in recent memory.” Alonso Duralde of TheWrap also praised the effectiveness of the film, explaining that it “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.” Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A−, citing the effectiveness of “mood and sound effects for shocks that never feel cheap.”

Some critics reacted negatively to the film’s similarities with films such as The Exorcist and Poltergeist. Indiewire’s Eric Kohn explained that, “The Warrens may know how to handle demonic possessions, but The Conjuring suffers from a different invading force: the ghosts of familiarity.”

Andrew O’Hehir of Salon said the film provided “all the scream-inducing shocks you could want, right on schedule”, but thought the central concept – that the innocent women accused and executed in the Salem witch trials “actually were witches, who slaughtered children and pledged their love to Satan and everything!” – was “reprehensible and inexcusable bullshit”.

 

The Conjuring (2013) Accolades

Award Category Recipients Result
Saturn Awards Best Horror Film The Conjuring Won
People’s Choice Awards Favorite Thriller Movie The Conjuring Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Titles Sequence The Conjuring Won
North Carolina Film Critics Association Tar Heel Award The Conjuring Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Scared-As-Shit Performance Vera Farmiga Nominated
Key Art Awards Best Audio/Visual Technique New Line Cinema 3rd Place
Key Art Awards Best Trailer – Audio/Visual New Line Cinema 3rd Place
IGN Summer Movie Awards Best Horror Movie The Conjuring Won
Hollywood Film Festival Hollywood Movie Award The Conjuring Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Horror The Conjuring Won
Golden Trailer Awards Best Horror TV Spot The Conjuring Won
Golden Trailer Awards Best Voice Over TV Spot The Conjuring Nominated
Golden Schmoes Awards Best Horror Movie of the Year The Conjuring Won
Golden Schmoes Awards Biggest Surprise of the Year The Conjuring Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Supporting Actress Lili Taylor Won
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Wide Release Film The Conjuring Won
Empire Awards Best Horror The Conjuring Won
Denver Film Critics Society Awards Best Science-Fiction/Horror Film The Conjuring Nominated
Critics’ Choice Movie Awards Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie The Conjuring Nominated
CinEuphoria Awards Best Special Effects (Sound or Visual) The Conjuring Nominated

The Conjuring (2013) Movie Info

In 1970, paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren are summoned to the home of Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and Roger (Ron Livingston) Perron.
The Perrons and their five daughters have recently moved into a secluded farmhouse, where a supernatural presence has made itself known. Though the manifestations are relatively benign at first, events soon escalate in horrifying fashion, especially after the Warrens discover the house’s macabre history.

 

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