The Conjuring (2013)

conjuring poster 2013 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visual: 8/10

Some nice visuals and decent jumps

Some rather generic ghost story stuff

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Conjuring

Studio:  The Safran Company

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  July 19, 2013

MPAA Rating:  R

the conjuring hide and clap lili taylor

I call unfair advantage in the hide and clap game for the ghost kid

Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) are investigators of demonic and paranormal activity.  When they are called to the home of Carolyn and Roger Perron (Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston), they find a house with a sordid past that is now lashing out at the Perrons and their five girls.  The primary source of the activity is the spirit of a former witch named Bathsheba who has vowed to protect her home and property.  Bathsheba has her eyes on Carolyn, and Lorraine and Ed must find a way to exorcise the spirit before it is too late…and the safety of their own lives and daughter (Sterling Jerins) are at risk.

Directed by James Wan, The Conjuring is a supernatural horror film based on true events.  Originally titled The Warren Files, the film went through a few changes before reaching the screen.  Generally well received, the movie’s release became a surprise summer.

the conjuring bathsheba vomits in mouth lili taylor


The “based on a true story” tag has been passed around and been over used for years.  Some are adaptions like The Amityville Horror (which also was another famous case of the Warrens and alluded to at the end of the film).  Others like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre really skewer the truth by just having references to serial killers like Ed Gein…still others like Fargo claim to be a true story and have no truth to them.  This story does have some “fact” basis to it, and the Warrens claim it was one of the scariest investigations they ever had.

Despite being a quick process, many of the events in the film did occur but in real life they allegedly took place over years.  It is obvious when watching the film, that not all the events even the “documented” ones could be possible.  Little story glitches like the idea that the owners didn’t know they had a basement (but the furnace is in there) don’t really match up.  The house seemed creepy enough that it didn’t need to fake it.

the conjuring patrick wilson hanging woman

All of these movies could be solved if Patrick Wilson just learned to turn around…

The film also borrows a lot from other movies including Wan’s other films.  The character of Patrick Wilson has a lot of scary stuff going on behind him…just like in Insidious also by Wan.  The Annabelle doll (who was actually a Raggedy Ann doll) feels like an allusion to Poltergeist (along with the snow on the television).  The general haunting aspect borrows from The Amityville Horror and the possession story has been done to death (especially in recent years).  It isn’t very original, but it does keep the jumps.

I love some of the actors in this movie.  Both Vera Farmiga and Lili Taylor always bring some depth to even basic roles.  The movie also had a decent collection of children actors who unfortunately never got to develop since there were so many kids (and all of them girls).  The men in the film really have to take second fiddle to their wives, and both do a solid job, but it really is about the wives characters despite moments like working on a car…they are just there for support.

the conjuring bathsheba wardrobe scene joseph bishara

She comes with the house

Like Insidious and other ghost stories, there needs to be a scary ghost.  The witch woman Bathsheba (actually played by a man named Joseph Bishara) does get some jumps…especially with her initial appearance above the wardrobe.  I also like the idea with other ghosts in the house, you can spend some time guessing which ghost was doing what to the family…I wish it had been more clean cut (like in The Amityville Horror which also featured multiple spirits).

The Conjuring is a fun popcorn movie that can provide some scares.  Much like a Paranormal Activity movie, the jumps come rather easy, but at least this film has a better, more developed story to develop it.  It is also refreshing to have R-Rated horror that both build suspense and scares…I wish the film was just a bit more clever.  A spin-off film called Annabelle was released in 2014 and a sequel The Conjuring 2 was released in 2016 to similar box-office success.

Related Links:

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

The Conjuring:  The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

Annabelle (2014)

Annabelle:  Creation (2017)

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

The Nun (2018)

The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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