The Conjuring

James Wan's The Conjuring, a mostly refreshing take on an old ghost story, is not the slam dunk its able cast could have delivered. It has a good number of jolts and more than a handful of supremely creepy set pieces but also more than its share of "don't-look-in-the-basement" moments that, even if true to the actual events upon which the film is based, are exasperating. The film features Patrick Wilson and Vera Famiga as Vatican-approved real life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (they of the Amityville Horror) and Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor as the Perrons, the proud owners of a big and battered farm house into which they and their five daughters move. In no time at all, the family dog is dead, birds are crash diving into the side of the house and Mama Perron (Taylor) is waking up with mysterious bruises. All of this, of course, is because of some heinous events in the house's past that has trapped an especially malevolent spirit. She's out for blood. The Warrens, renowned for their ability to record spectral events and rid haunted premises of cranky phantoms, move in with the Perrons, which only makes things worse. The Conjuring is a pretty solid scarefest but not recommended for little ones.


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