If you’ve never seen a haunted house movie, The Conjuring might be scary to you. For a standard haunt-flick, it’s relatively well executed. But the problem is : The Haunting (1963), The Exorcist, Poltergeist, and Paranormal Activity all exist. So do The Ring, Cure, Drag Me to Hell, and The Uninvited. And so do about 180,000 other haunted house / haunted spirit movies. The Conjuring did not bring anything new to the party.
I think there is a core popularity to the haunted house movie that connects to the public’s obsession with Halloween. It’s not that it’s that outlandishly scary to people, but they are entertained nonetheless. My problem is that I’m not entertained. It’s — as Simon Cowell would say — all a bit boring to me. I’ve seen this a thousand times before, so all the flagellations, spasms and contortions in the world don’t get my juices flowing. What excites me is a good scary story.
Most often the scariest movies are ones that are solidly non-supernatural. Give me something truly “Insidious” like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Dead Calm, Orphan, or The Shining.
In The Conjuring, the house wasn’t that creepy, and a pseudo-historical context wasn’t taken advantage of, and neither was a very cool boggy backyard pond. At the beginning we are informed that the movie is based on a true story. Yea right. There wasn’t even anything conjured, especially not fear. 3/10