The Conjuring

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Conjuring Movie Poster Image
Terrifying paranormal horror movie based on a true story.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 112 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 36 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 146 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The characters take on terrifying challenges, work together, solve problems, and triumph over the odds. They also show empathy for stressed characters in tense situations.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Warrens selflessly put themselves in harm's way to help a family in need. Lorraine, in particular, is in physical danger, but doesn't hesitate to help. They're based on real-life paranormal investigators who apparently helped many people.

Violence

Not much visible death or gore, but what is shown is terrifying, life-altering, and not for the faint of heart. The movie's most intense imagery comes from pure terror. The most disturbing sequences occur during the demon possession sequence. There's a great deal of screaming and fighting and some minor gore, such as a woman vomiting blood while wearing a sheet over her head (a red stain suddenly appears on the sheet). A demon scratches a cop's face, with some blood shown. One character (a dog) dies, and characters are sometimes battered around the room by demons.

Sex

A married couple is shown to be comfortable with one another in the bedroom. There's some innuendo around their sex life, such as "christening the new house" and "do it again."

Language

Infrequent language includes one "s--t," plus the occasional "goddamn," "damn," "oh my God," and "hell." A character says, "son of a --- " but doesn't finish the phrase.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man is shown to be asleep at his desk with an unfinished glass of whisky nearby.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Conjuring is a truly scary horror movie that's based on a true story about a haunted house, a demon possession, and an exorcism. It's more frightening than gory; no characters die (except a dog), and not much blood is shown, except during an intense demon-possession scene at the climax. But even though it's mostly based on suggestion, the scary stuff is terrifying. Language includes one "s--t" and a few other words but is infrequent. Sex isn't an issue, other than that a married couple is shown to be comfortable with each other in the bedroom (with a little mild innuendo). One character is shown to have drunk some whisky and fallen asleep at his desk. The main characters, Ed and Lorraine Warren, were real-life paranormal investigators.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12 year old Written by1elysium1 July 19, 2013

GOOD CLASSIC HORROR IS BACK

This is a great classic horror movie... think back from when you were young watching The Ammytiville Horror movie. I really dont recall the once cuss word (the... Continue reading
Parent of a 11 year old Written byJonathon Stockhausen July 19, 2013

Finally, some horror that doesn't rely on gory violence, sex and language

Finally we have got a horror movie that is rated r only for its terror. The conjuring doesn't rely on swearing, gore and nudity for it to be truly frighten... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byjazine July 22, 2013

awsome movie

this movie is very very scary. definitely not for kids under 12
Teen, 13 years old Written byCupcake12347896 August 10, 2013

Appropriate for kids to :)

It is safe for kids 8 plus though it is scary it is great for the kids My 8 year old and 12 year old loved it you should watch it :)

What's the story?

In THE CONJURING, in the early 1970s, the Perron family -- Roger (Ron Livingston), Carolyn (Lili Taylor), and their five daughters -- move into a new home in the Rhode Island countryside. Before long, they start encountering strange noises and smells, stopped clocks, slamming doors, and figures lurking in dark corners. So the Perrons approach paranormal investigators Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) for help. The Warrens believe a demon is causing the trouble, and when Carolyn becomes possessed, they must get approval from the church for an exorcism. Unfortunately, Lorraine's clairvoyant abilities have taken quite a toll on her physical strength, and Ed worries that she might not survive their latest adventure.

Is it any good?

This horror film provides a treasure trove of typical haunting tricks that seems fresh and terrifying once again. Best known for co-creating Saw, expert horror director James Wan has happily advanced into more sophisticated tales with Insidious and now The Conjuring. Rather than gore, Wan goes for a more old-fashioned, character-based movie here. What's more, Wan plays with the "based on a true story" motif in interesting ways. Rather than remaining stuck on facts, he uses the story in more metaphysical ways, suggesting that both demons (and angels) could actually exist.

The movie's inspired music score is key: it's a collection of edgy, discordant tones that works beautifully with the images. Wan's choice of actors also adds a level of class. Taylor and Farmiga in particular are two of our finest current actresses, and they bring an intense sense of empathy to the screen. Wilson matches them, making it hard not to hope that a series of true-story horror movies based on the Warrens is in horror fans' future.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Conjuring's violence and how it's presented. How much is actually shown? What's scarier -- lots of gore and blood, or "suggested" scares? Why?

  • What makes this movie scarier or less scary than other horror movies you've seen?

  • What do you think about the real-life aspects of the movie? Does the movie make you believe in ghosts and demons? Does it make you want to learn more about the Warrens? 

  • Are the Warrens role models? How do they help out the Perron family?

  • What's the appeal of demon possession/exorcism movies? What do they have to say about the world?

Movie details

For kids who love scares

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