User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 570 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 40 out of 570

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  1. Jul 20, 2013
    Why is this movie getting awesome scores? What happened in this movie that hasn't happened in every other horror movie? Random substories that popped up are never resolved, and the main plot never really goes anywhere outside the obvious foreshadowing it sets up. Most scenes involve a lot of characters staring at something that barely moved, followed by a jump scare that quickly cuts to a "safe" scene. Boring horror movie that'll eventually play every weekend on tv. Expand
  2. Jul 21, 2013
    This review contains spoilers. I'm feeling as though I'm in a rather small majority on this one. The Conjuring was the horror film equivalent to Prometheus: concerning all of its high expectations. To put it simply, horror films are all about the set up and the release (or the "pay-off"), and I felt neither. In my opinion, having felt the lack of the release was due in part to the weak or unclear set up. I don't consider myself a writer, although I believe I could be capable of writing a screenplay that could get away with murder.
    Speaking of murder, how many deaths occurred in the span of this film? Well, there are certainly various instances of implied murders, but other than that we only see the family’s dog and a scene that contains flocks upon flocks of birds that fall (or fly rather) to their death. All of the slayings surrounding any humans had taken occurrence in the past in regard to the history leading up to the family’s arrival. Whether a story is illustrated through a movie, a play, or a book (or any other medium), death is to be used as a plot device: a means to give a strong punctuation to the overall storyline. So what is death? Death is the looming threat that will eventually get the better of us, if we’re ready for it or if we’re not. The element of death can be represented symbolically as a warning, as significance, or the consequence of there being one.
    If there isn’t a single main character that doesn’t die in a HORROR film amid the first and second act (even up to the third act), then the film instinctively looses its power, and one’s attentiveness along with it. At the conclusion of the film, one might ask, “So, what did we gain from this?” Well, we relearned that at the end of any successful exorcism, the film would automatically instill a peaceful and a settling mood to the environment. That type of mood is over portrayed in the conclusion, and doesn’t benefit the film at all; it felt forced. We also learned that “jump scares” are still being used as a gimmick these days (yes, there are “jump scares” in this) only to lift audience’s eyelids of slumber. And lastly, if there are occurrences of paranormal activity at any time shown in a horror film, it better had be at night (or in this case, at 3:07 am precisely).
    Which now brings myself to the time to talk about the aspects of the film that I did enjoy, and thought that the film did justice to. The characters in the film are likeable enough to care for (to an extent) the cinematography is some of the best work I’ve seen in most recent years, the first shot and the last shot felt like the two highest points of visual stimulation, the score for the film was nice and booming (although in scene of the exorcism, the film decides to splice it along side with a character searching for someone in another section of the house, which lacks the tension in the score when it shifts back to him). There were a couple of Amityville Horror references that provided some sparks. And the exorcism scene itself was creative and inventive with the environment of which it was set.
    However, the film did not deliver any emotional connection between my associates and I. We found ourselves pointing out (and chuckling about) where the next big scare would be, and we weren’t all that far off for the majority of them. There was only one time that the film caught me off guard. It dealt with the character Lorraine Warren, who was standing outside by the lake (or river) when her husband comes from behind her when, she spots a corpse hanging from the tree behind him, which gave the film some points. The reason the sequence worked as well as it did was due to the time it occurred: MIDDAY. Which is perfect in any horror film to strive for, because it will not be anticipated.
    I went into this film the same way I go into any film these days, which is to go into it without any knowledge of the plot, characters or anything. It is simply the trailers these days that can give away crucial large chucks of the film; thus I avoid them at all costs (though I wouldn’t have felt any more letdown than if I had). A lessor film would have added a cheap jump scare to the ending shot; this one does not, which it earns some more points for that as well.
    Overall, I thought there were various elements of the film that were rather rewarding to its plot. Though the film as a whole, felt somewhat lousy in its execution. Now there are some critics out there that are calling it something like “This generation’s The Exorcist!” It’s a statement that sounds a bit hefty for a film that might not age as well as the classic. In the end, if one were to compare the two, they will find a clear and strong difference between the two films: AUTHENTIC HORROR. Can you guess which one?
  3. Aug 15, 2013
    If you're looking for a standard horror flick to watch on a night in then this will do the job well enough but for the most part it's the same cliche horror film that's been done to death a hundred times over. There aren't many original ideas to be found here and most of the 'scary' moments are just jack in the box jumps.
    There are quite a few characters in it (a family of seven, two
    ghostbusters, a police sheriff and some guy with cameras) and none of them have that much depth or personality to the point where most of the cast seem unnecessary. Also some of the acting is pretty bad, particularly the father of the family. When the child actors are upstaging the adults then that's not a good sign.
    One thing that I keep seeing in horror films is pianos! Why does every haunted house have a piano? And why to ghosts always feel the need to play it? I want to see a horror film where they find a dusty old Gibson in the basement and in the middle of the night everyone is woken up by the opening riff to sweet child of mine. It might not be scary at least it would be something that hasn't bee done before unlike pretty much everything in this film.
    Overall this might be a good time sink if you're bored at home but if you're a horror fan then this isn't going to stay with you for long.
  4. Jul 20, 2013
    Why was this movie rated R? There was nothing scary or creepy about this movie and the jump scares were completely ineffective. I'm glad I only paid the matinée price. So disappointing.
  5. Aug 3, 2013
    The fact that this piece of crap, generic, been done before film with glaring mistakes is getting fantastical reviews truly leaves me scared for my fellow human beings on metacritic.
  6. Jul 27, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. So after hearing the reviews and what others had said after they had seen the movie, I was very excited; but after the credits rolled, I was appalled. This movie is a comedy. Why does Hollywood have to take 'based on actual events' and hear poetic license, gimmicks and over glamorize to sell tickets? Was the horrific ordeal the Perron family went through not enough that we had to throw in possession,demonology,paranormal investigations, exorcism AND The Salem Witch Trials? I am a descendent of someone that was killed in the trials and they Do Not need to be glamorized! The only good part of this movie is the portrayal of Ed and Lorraine Warren by Vera Framiga and Patrick Wilson-they showed beautifully the undying love and partnership the two had. That where Lorraine went Ed went. So I ask, why can't Hollywood show a good story anymore with out over CGI'd and gimmicks? Expand
  7. Aug 23, 2013
    I don't understand why people liked this movie. It did not have a single scary moment. The acting was bland and generic, to say the least. The Conjuring is an example of the horror genre is on 21st century life support. What a waste of money!
  8. Sep 19, 2013
    Honestly do not see how it's so critically acclaimed nor why users seem to like it so much. It was a very generic paranormal film that was not scary at all. Sort of disappointing considering it's directed by James Wan and starring Patrick Wilson, who were great together in Insidious.
  9. Jul 22, 2013
    Take a bunch of horror cliches, throw in unnecessary side stories, remove what suspense there is by bringing in "ghost hunters," stir and fall asleep.
  10. Aug 15, 2013
    simon abrams and i rarely agree on films, but hes 100 percent correct this time. The movie was long drawn out and boring on two levels. Drugs and or alcohol will not help because through out the movie is a constant irritating noise that will give you a headache. predictable, long, boring, headache...
  11. Oct 31, 2013
    Another run of the mill Hollywood cookie cutter ghost story. Branching stories, several of which never get resolved (The first part of the film had absolutely nothing to do with the whole movie!). Some genuine thrilling moments, but overall fall flat jump scares and screamingly generic exorcisms. This film portrays witchcraft, paganism, atheists and non-belivers in a light of evil, and Christianity as the faith to save the day and the souls of all infidels. A christian propaganda film as much as a horror film. I would rather watch Paranormal Activity over this. Expand
  12. Sep 10, 2013
    From the mind of the director of Saw, The Conjuring is a film that finds itself in two minds about whether it should be a strict horror film or a family themed one. Eventually the film stops trying to differentiate and just gives up making for an ending so flat its almost as if it doesn't end. The film follows Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga), a married couple who work as ghost hunters and are sent to the Perron household where Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and Roger Perron (Ron Livingston) are experiencing odd occurrences that are scaring not only them but their five girls. Filled with some great tension, the opening act of the film is almost like it is from another film as it slowly but surely puts you in a state of unease, one that feels like it isn't going to end leading to a moment so terrifying it will affect some of the most seasoned horror watchers. However after that the scares become more predictable and the timing becomes a lot more conventional as the film transitions into a picture about family where there is no real sense of jeopardy, just two families bonding together which could be interesting if The Conjuring wasn't a horror film. The picture decides to avoid a chilling finale in favour of an action one where everything collectively hits the fan but by doing so have rid the the film of any redemptive features as director James Wan's signature style of raising tension to a boiling point is thrown out of the window in favour of a whole lot of confusion. This balls to the wall conclusion lacks the gravitas of his previous works which is a crying shame indeed. Expand
  13. Jul 25, 2013
    Overall going to have to agree with Ebert on this one, I may be a bit biased in that I don't typically enjoy horror movies to begin with, but our group found this particular outing to be nothing more than a bust. I think our entire audience got more kicks out of my friend trying to wake up our colleague by clapping next to his head than the entirety of what we saw throughout the 2 hour (far too long for so little to be told).

    Ebert's description of them cramming story slowly down your throat during every dull moment (70% of the movie is this) is spot on and it never really amounts to much. There's a few things left in the plot to allow for potential sequels, but I don't see the point in making one unless it is livened up quite a bit.

    All that being said, the performances by Patrick Wilson and especially Vera Farmiga were good and Lili Taylor was close behind. Ron Livingston's character felt out of place and relatively useless, he just seemed oblivious most of the movie, but I am not entirely sure that is the fault of the actor vs the script in this case as most horror movies tend to remove the focus from the male characters as soon as possible to increase suspense.

    TL;DR Save your money, watch it at home.
  14. Apr 4, 2014
    Many will try and have you believe that the atomosphere around the movie was terrifying, but I will tell you unless this is the first horror movie you've seen, nothing will scare you or creep you out.

    The movie is so unoriginal. There is nothing creative, nor original, and especially not clever in this film. Not the first evil doll, paranormal activity, haunted house, nothing in this
    movie is good nor interesting. I literally fell asleep, right after my girlfriend. It took me about 5 times to watch the movie entirely. That's 1 more then Avatar.

    The films only good aspects are the acting and maybe the directing.
  15. Oct 11, 2014
    Stupid ass movie title! NOTHING is CONJURED in this movie!! Stupid writers and the director should go read a dictionary before slapping the title onto this movie! They also recycle the frickin UV-light **** again.
  16. Aug 4, 2013
    No great shakes....a big disappointment as far as I am concerned. Nothing that we haven't already seen in films like Paranormal Activity and Exorcist. Infact those films were more chilling and impactful compared to this which felt like 'recycled stuff'. The screenplay is a major culprit because its so damn know how it begins and how it will end...
  17. Aug 11, 2013
    Trust me you've seen it before booming sound effects, loud screams and cheap attempted jump scares does not cut it. It's using a supposed true story and attempting a cheap cash grab for those expecting to walk out pleased.
  18. Aug 30, 2013
    Combining every memorable element of Horror from a previous film before it, The Conjuring masters at scaring by not allowing you to realize you've been conned into 100 minutes of cheap tricks and bumps in the night. Forcing the religious angle for relative ease in accepting that possession exists, and then use the "Salem witch" as a scapegoat of Baphomet to ride through the black hole plot. Perhaps they should sacrifice this witch to let the film end? Of course, after thuds, shadows, and CGI low budget snores that don't do as much as even muster a chuckle out you for their pathetic sideshow buffoonery. Expand
  19. Sep 1, 2013
    I watched this movie with good expectations. I watched the trailer, thought it would be good. It looked creepy, scary and worth my money and time. It was the same person who did Insidious and I know how much those scares packed-a-punch on me. But unfortunately, the only thing I can give this film were the two leading roles of the two paranormal investigators and props. Their acting was good and very believable. The props were quite well done, but it felt as though the directors was like, let's make them look really creepy and ugly, that will scare people. No. I was expecting a good scare and hoping to be genuinely frightened, but no. And I was extremely disappointed. Every "scare" was far too predictable. Like the face would disappear and the character is wondering where the unknown entity has gone and then...oh here I am, right next to you...did you see me coming? Of course we did, who in the world couldn't see it coming. This effect has been used time and time again and yet still we get horror movies that continue to use them as if this gets its audience every time. I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion but for big horror fans, this simply is a miss. Sure if it's your first horror movie or one of your first maybe you might feel a little bit of tension and creepiness. I am a big horror fan and I'm sure a lot of the other fans like me will come to the conclusion that The Conjuring brought nothing new to the horror genre.

    +Good acting
    +Good effects on props

    -Far too predictable
    -Typical story
    -Slow Pace
    -Scares are very ineffective
    -Brought nothing new to the horror genre

  20. Sep 12, 2013
    same warmed warmed and warmed and re warmed soup made in hollywood. absolutely boring and predictable. I appreciated wilson's performance but nothing else. entire movie is a shameless cliche, redundant till the bother. without any trace of soul. yes, definitely I can say its a ghosts movie. where the ghost is the movie.
  21. Nov 24, 2013
    Haunted dolls, levitating, Attack of Blind Pigeons, cheesy "dialogue", slamming doors, crucifixes, basement-as-center of activity...zzzzzz.....But, don't worry, in the end we're all brought back to flowers and unicorns and bubble-teas by a mother's love and god. Awwww.

    This is galactically lame, desperate, and overdone with cheap jump-thrills. Just another horror movie that reminds us
    that The Exorcist is the gold standard which has yet to be beat. Expand
  22. May 26, 2014
    Why did people like this, how? This movie was cliche after cliche, everything in this movie was ripped from other (better) movies, and everything major that happened was so easy to see coming that it was PAINFUL.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    Aug 3, 2013
    Wan’s film is a sturdily built supernatural chiller, with next-to-no digital effects or gore, and it delivers its scares with a breezy lack of urgency.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    Jul 25, 2013
    I'd be shocked if we see a better horror film in 2013.
  3. Reviewed by: Simon Abrams
    Jul 19, 2013
    The Conjuring is as toothless as it is because it's two different kinds of boring. The film's plot is explained exhaustively whenever loud noises aren't blaring, and random objects aren't teasingly leaping out at you from the corner of your eye.