In a summer where most of the spectacle exists for you to watch it as wide-eyed as possible, "The Conjuring" promises to offer thrills that will have you squinting from between your fingers. Based on the real-life case files of Lorraine and Ed Warren, the film follows the Perron family as they move into a new home and find themselves terrorized by a supernatural menace. James Wan, who already terrified audiences with "Saw" and "Insidious," directs.
But how good is Wan at wringing thrills out of similar kinds of material after so many movies? And how scary is "The Conjuring" in comparison to other recent scary movies? MTV News assembled a cross section of reviews from web critics who offered their thoughts about Wan's work, the Warrens' story, and the prospect of wowing audiences as well as the next big blockbuster.
How Does 'The Conjuring' Compare To Recent Horror Movies?
""The Conjuring" scared me more than any other movie in recent memory. For full-on fear and dread, the kind that makes you start squirming at the beginning of the scene, because you know someone's about to open a door they shouldn't, this movie starts creepy and maintains a hold on your spine for the next 112 minutes." — Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
But What Sets It Apart From Other Haunted House Movies?
"A 'B story' is what prevents The Conjuring from becoming yet another basic but forgettable tale of creaky floorboards and mysterious whispers. You know the 'paranormal experts' who show up in virtually all of the haunted house movies? Well, in The Conjuring, those two characters are actually fully-realized, three-dimensional, and surprisingly interesting people. Most of the first half of The Conjuring focuses on the desperately beleaguered Perron family, but we also cut away to the husband & wife team of Ed & Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators who always seem to save the day." — Scott Weinberg, Fearnet
How Stupid Are The Characters When It Comes To Getting Themselves Scared?
"There's a completeness to Wan's vision here that seems to preclude even the possibility of stupidity: the characters take rational steps to explore and address the supernatural problem. This creates a sort of first-generation found footage movie within a movie, and eliminates the 'nobody believes me' argument from the characters' usual repertoire of excuses why their problems continue to intensify." — Todd Gilchrist, Daily Dead
How Is James Wan at Scaring The Holy Hell Out Of You?
"[Wan] is the unrivaled champion of a specific sort of hold-your-breath scene, where you know the jump is just about to happen. And just when you think it's a goof or a head-fake, BLAM!, the thing you knew was going to pop out at you, pops out you — and there's a good chance you just shouted and made a fool of yourself. This makes for a great time at the movies — or even for watching at home with the lights off. In this regard 'The Conjuring' is a success. The other side to this, however, is the story. It's no dumber than the usual supernatural horror flick, but it also isn't any better. You've seen it before, you'll see it again." — Jordan Hoffman, Screencrush
How Does The Movie Handle Its Old-School Scares?
"Even as Wan employs familiar fright tactics, he brings to the material an evident emphasis on chilling iconography and careful rhythms, as opposed to leaning on money shots and hokey mythology to generate forgettable jolts. All the contorting girls and pea-soup vomit in the world can hardly compete with a blood-stained sheet and a well-placed doll." — William Goss, Film.com