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Mitchell's Top 20 Films of 2013: #17 "The Conjuring"

"The Conjuring" (2013)
"The Conjuring" (2013)
Warner Bros., New Line Cinema

17. "The Conjuring" - Director James Wan's ghost story is the scariest movie I've seen since Sam Raimi's 2009 film, "Drag Me to Hell".

Raimi's picture mixed humor and scares, but Wan leaves the laughs behind.

What makes "The Conjuring" worse is: it is based upon a true story.

The year is 1971, and something is terrorizing Roger (Ron Livingston) and Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) and their five girls.

Doors creak and slam on their own.

All of the clocks routinely stop at 3:07am.

A kickball tamely bounces across the room, but no one actually threw it.

Unfortunately, the unexplained phenomena gets far worse in a hurry, and the family turns to Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) - who specialize in rooting out demons - for help.

On the other hand, even the Warrens - who are very experienced paranormal investigators - get freaked out by the “things” that go “bump in the night” in this house.

Wan effectively creates many moments in which the audience and on screen characters feel equally and completely helpless.

The film, however, does run for almost two hours, and the long runtime allows us some reprieve and chances to breathe, but for a vast majority of movie, Wan rams his foot on the horror pedal and doesn't let up.

Although, blood does splatter at times, “The Conjuring” doesn't rely on gore to shock the audience.

Instead, the theatre patrons jump out of their seats through good old fashioned fear, dread and skilled storytelling.

Follow me on Twitter: @MitchFilmCritic

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