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The Conjuring

When your house is possessed by a demon, you gotta call in the pros

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If I were a ghost who worked in horror films, I might be frustrated that I always got cast in the same role: creaking doors, stopping clocks, tossing china, whispering to kids and appearing in mirrors. James Wan's spooker about a haunted house certainly doesn't break any new ground for spectral performances, nor does it for the freaked-out humans plagued by the unwanted visitors. Wan does bring in some decent actors — Lili Taylor and Ron Livingstone as the home-owners, and Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as the real-life paranormal investigators. (This tale is adapted from an actual incident.) And Wan, who also gave us Saw, deserves credit for turning in a mostly old-fashioned, leisurely paced, things-that-go-bump-in-the-night thriller, without much gore or modern shock tactics.  It's easily 20 minutes too long, and story grows less satisfying toward the conclusion, but if you need a few chills in the heat, it should suffice.

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