Michael Cook’s review published on Letterboxd:
Spooktober Film #2
I can honestly say, without a doubt, that a film hasn’t scared me that much in a long time like, “The Conjuring” has. Baked in realism and never relying upon cheap jump scares, there is something refreshing about a film actually horrifying you. These scares are amazingly crafted through incredibly precise camerawork, sound design and establishment of space. However, what trulymakes it all work is it’s emphasis on characters and story.
I have to admit, the first 20-30 minutes I was kind of iffy on, but it’s set-up makes the rest of the film entirely worth the wait. Once the demonolgists entered the fray and the thematics of families coming together was established I was completely invested in the story and deeply cared about the survival of said characters.
“The Conjuring” has definitely set the standard for the horror resurgence that has seem to come from its subsequent release in 2011, helping audiences realize that mainstream horror can be great and doesn’t need to be filled with cheap tricks that startle the viewer. Instead it shows that true horror comes from our investment in the characters and the heightened stakes that come from this investment.