Conjuring up an old-school scare-fest

(NC16) Horror/112 minutes
Rating: 3/5

The Conjuring serves as somewhat of a palette cleanser to the slate of action blockbusters that has ruled the box office this season.

This is an old-school horror scare-fest that utilises horror conventions without making them feel stale.

Directed by James Wan, who helmed the very successful horror film Insidious (2011), The Conjuring follows a real-life 1970s case that was presented to married paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren (played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson). Following a series of disturbing occurrences, the Perron family - father Roger (Ron Livingston), mother Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and their five daughters - hires the Warrens to rid their house of its demonic entities.

The period setting, complete with kooky clothes and Volkswagen minibuses, creates a moody atmosphere that does not betray the film's small budget. That it is based on a true story only increases the stakes.

Without giving anything away, the literally hair-raising incidents that the Perron family undergo come in increasingly larger doses.

The film follows the conventions that have come to define the horror genre.

From the ominous score by Joseph Bishara to close-ups of the demons, Wan follows the Scaring 101 rulebook closely. For someone like me who does not watch horror films often, the film still delivered on the suspense and scares.

The acting across the board is good, with Taylor, Wilson and Farmiga giving their best in their somewhat-stereotypical roles.

Taylor, in particular, stands out from the ensemble in the latter part of the film.

Delivering an old-school horror film with scares and screams aplenty, The Conjuring will take you for a (goose)bumpy ride.

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