• James Wan’s The Conjuring starts, effectively, in medias res with the Annabelle prologue before the “true story” titles and the magnificently designed “The Conjuring” logo slides down.
  • The strong start continues with Wan’s active camera pushing through the haunted house to the window as the station wagon of the Perron family (led by the talented Lili Taylor) arrives.
  • Like Wan does with The Conjuring 2 (2016)—and this film here, the first, simply is not as good as the sequel- he makes a real effort to have the camera twirling (like a spirit) in the house, there’s one shot early (above), tracking the movers and couch, then with the family, through the kitchen pushing to a shot of the eerie backyard and tree.
  • Strong details tie the film to the 1971 period—the great housecoat that Taylor wears, the sideburns for the male actors, the wardrobe- massive lapels, the Afghan blankets, The Tommy poster
  • Wan uses a nice little dolly zoom on the house—this is just good style meets content with the nature of the film and the house
  • It is certainly worth applauding that The Conjuring is one horror film that does not skimp on the casting of acting talent. You see bad actors and poor acting in so many horror films. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga especially—are very good actors- even if they are occasionally betrayed by the script (Wilson has one line that is essentially “sometimes when you get haunted, it’s like stepping in gum- it sticks to you”- yuck).
  • Sadly, Wan doesn’t keep up the pace as far as the film style on display early in the film- there is  (above) a nice narrow, low-angle shot of the Warren’s daughter with the 1970’s wallpaper surrounding her on the stairs though
  • Recommend, but not in the top 10 or that close for 2013