Movie date: The Conjuring

JASON JOHNSON

One of the main ideas behind The Conjuring is that the unfortunate women executed during the Salem witch trials were real witches.

They consorted with demons, killed children and their evil spirits linger on to this day.

Does it need to be said that this is bunk?

It has absolutely no basis in reality, and furthermore, it perpetuates some hateful stereotypes against actual Wiccans, who are in fact pretty chill.

As a die-hard fan of The Secret Circle, I must officially register my indignation.

But in spite of its political incorrectness visa- vis sorceresses, The Conjuring is one heck of a fun horror flick.

Director James Wan burst onto the horror scene with torture porn Saw a decade ago, and I hated it.

With The Conjuring, he trades in blood for mood.

The inherent ugliness of the 1970s is used to great effect. Everyone dresses weird and looks scruffy, putting us off-kilter right from the start.

Why don't these people use hair-conditioner?

That's just spooky!

When you first see the farmhouse, all you can think is that of course it's haunted. In fact, if you move into that house you DESERVE to be haunted.

I like the fact that Wan also seemed to stick to special effects that are charmingly lo-fi.

But in the end, what I like best about the picture is that Wilson and Farmiga remind me of The X-Files' Mulder and Scully.

And that's cool.

JULIANA RASUL

Any time you put a bunch of sweet young girls in the way of evil spirits, you'll get a captive audience.

In the case of The Conjuring, the girls are not a bunch of scantily clad college spring breakers flailing around a house.

The sisters here sleepwalk at night in fulllength nightdresses and play a version of hideand- seek involving claps that ups the creepiness factor by about a hundred.

In fact, I'm still trying to get over the scene of one of the younger girls banging her own forehead against the doors of a cupboard.

Scenes like that make The Conjuring one of the best haunted-house films I've seen in years.

Director James Wan doesn't exactly rein vent the wheel with the key elements of the story - it opens with an all-too-familiar tale about a haunted doll - but his patience in lingering on shots and making you wait for the scares is a breath of fresh air in a market saturated with movies full of cheap scares.

By the time the big possession happens in the last third of the movie, I was so spooked I couldn't sit still.

Because the story is set in the 1970s, some people have compared it to The Exorcist.

It isn't, not by a long shot, but like any horror movie worth its salt, it'll keep you up at night for a while, listening for stray claps in the dark.


Get The New Paper for more stories.

VIDEOS TO WATCH

SERVICES