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Movie Review

The Conjuring also known as “The Warren Files”

MPAA Rating: R for sequences of disturbing violence and terror.

Reviewed by: Ryan Callaway

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Horror Thriller
1 hr. 52 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 19, 2013 (wide)
DVD: October 22, 2013
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Relevant Issues
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haunted house


The movie is loosely based on the claims of Ed and Lorraine Warren (see Wikipedia).

clairvoyant—“a person who claims to have a supernatural ability to perceive events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact”

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ghosts in the Bible


final judgment

demons in the Bible



Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

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DEMON POSSESSSION and Influence—Can Christians be demon possessed? In what ways can Satan and his demons influence believers? Answer


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God (WebBible Encyclopedia)

How can we know there’s a God? Answer

What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer

If God made everything, who made God? Answer

What does God say? Answer

Is Jesus Christ God? Answer

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

Featuring: Vera FarmigaLorraine Warren
Patrick WilsonEd Warren
Lili Taylor … Carolyn Perron
Ron Livingston … Roger Perron
Shanley Caswell … Andrea
Hayley McFarland … Nancy
Joey King … Christine
Mackenzie Foy … Cindy
Kyla Deaver … April
more »
Director: James Wan—“Insidious,” “Dead Silence,” “Saw
Producer: Evergreen Media Group
New Line Cinema
more »
Distributor: New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures

Sequel: “The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist” (2016)

“The Conjuring” is the latest horror film by Director James Wan, best known for starting the “Saw” franchise. He also directed one of the better horror films of the last ten years in “Insidious”—although “The Conjuring” would certainly have a place on that list, perhaps even above the former film.

The story follows infamous demonologist couple Ed and Lorraine Warren on one of their most disturbing and personal cases. A family is being tormented by supernatural occurrences in their home. The children are seeing things and being physically pulled while in their beds at night. Their mother Carolyn wakes up every morning with a new bruise, and soon begins to have supernatural encounters around the house, herself.

Realizing that her family may be in danger, she seeks out the help of the Warrens. They come to the house, and through Lorraine’s almost “psychic abilities,” as well as physical evidence collected, they’re able to confirm the presence of a diabolical spirit intent on the family’s destruction. When approval from the Vatican for a cleansing of the house is delayed, the Warrens themselves attempt to stop the demonic forces before it’s too late.

Sinister” did quite a mental number on me last year, but in terms of pure scares, “The Conjuring” has to be one of the best horror films I’ve ever seen. While I typically avoid going to movies at night, due to high ticket prices and rude audiences, I’ve been awaiting this film for so long that I couldn’t wait until morning to see it. And although there were a couple of stupid comments made, and apparently some (wonderful person) decided to bring a baby, myself and the audience were really into the movie. There were more collective jumps and even screams than I think I’ve ever experienced in a theater.

Unlike most trailers today, I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that the scares were handled very well. All of the actors were more than capable (except maybe one of the teenaged girls who visit the Warrens in the prologue), and it was especially interesting to see Patrick Wilson tackle the role of Ed Warren. Considering his huge role in “Insidious,” I was initially a bit skeptical about the choice to cast him in this film. But within minutes of his first appearance, he proved me wrong, as he was completely in character as the straight-laced, more serious Mr. Warren.

The music, composed by Joseph Bishara, was fantastic and a perfect compliment to the eerie atmosphere of the film. I also have to mention that the cinematography was striking. There was one shot toward the beginning that lasted about a minute where the camera rolled through the house and caught different bits of conversations and actions taking place. That takes expert precision, and even if it did require an entire day of filming to achieve the effect, it was well done. The coloring and style seemed like a throwback to the great 70s/80s horror movies like “The Exorcist” or “Rosemary’s Baby.” Overall, again, fantastic horror film.

As for spiritual content—there was nothing sexual in the film. Language was mild. There were a few d***s, and several blasphemies like “Oh my ***” and “*** d***” that really weren’t necessary. I believe the name of Jesus was taken in vain once or twice, as well.

The real discussion, spiritually, would be the Christian perspective on “ghosts” and the work of demons. The Warrens seemed to believe that the spirits of deceased people could somehow be trapped here. Most Bible-believing Christians, however, would say that we either go to heaven or Hades after death, period. Hebrews 9:27 states,

“as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”

Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer

about the final judgment

There are also other passages in Ecclesiastes that clearly indicate that the dead have no more dealings with this world. Whatever happened in 1 Samuel Chapter 28 with Saul and the Medium bringing up the prophet Samuel was a special occasion. While it’s clear Samuel actually did make a special appearance, the practice of necromancy was still condemned, and, in fact, this act is listed as one of the reasons for Saul’s death (1 Chronicles 10:13). I don’t think the Warrens were outright heretics, but their beliefs on this matter are certainly questionable.

As per whether demons can haunt humans or not… that’s another issue. There are many books out there that delve into the paranormal from a Christian perspective (The Paranormal World: The Biblical Response to the Supernatural is one, and there’s also Ghost Hunting: A Biblical perspective). Even Reformer Martin Luther wrote about an evil spirit in his house moving furniture and performing other bothersome manifestations. I strongly believe demons are behind virtually all “paranormal activity,” but it’s nothing to split churches over.

Another topic you could derive from this film is the Catholic Church and its belief that only they can perform exorcisms. Also, the rituals and symbols they use, frankly, aren’t biblical. Nor are some of their methods. I know in some cases demons don’t go out “but by fasting and prayer” as Jesus said, but the rigorous rites that Catholics use seem like a bit much. In fact, it may be closer to what the Seven Sons of Sceva did, and it didn’t end well for them when they tried to cast out demons (Acts 19:13-19).

Overall, I would recommend “The Conjuring” to Christian horror fans, but with the caveat to be leery of some of the film’s theology. It does end with a strong quote about the existence of the devil, and therefore the Answerexistence of God. Always keep in mind, Christians, although the works of the enemy are frightening, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Thank God.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—I was thrilled to see such a Christian message in a mainstream movie. My one clarification—and I believe the review posted above should be edited—deals with this: “The Warrens seemed to believe that the spirits of deceased people could somehow be trapped here.” That isn’t true at all. The film clearly stated that the spirits of deceased were the vessel in which demons inhabit. I liked this message, as so many people believe in ghosts almost in a “fun” way. I avoid most horror movies that deal with ghosts, because I don’t agree it’s a healthy view for a Christian to partake in. This movie believed exactly what I do about demons and “ghosts,” and I loved it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Nathan, age 29 (USA)
Positive—I’m a huge fan of horror movies, and I have read The Demonologists. I think this movie did them justice. It was entertaining, enlightening, and it’s nice to see you can fight demons and succeed, even if the Catholic Church hasn’t given you permission to perform an exorcism. The only scene that didn’t make sense ***SPOILER*** is when one of the guys is taking the Lord’s name in vain while telling the demonic spirit to go away. Really?

I’m also disappointed that we never see the family get baptized, even though in The Demonologist some kind of religious ritual precedes an exorcism, and there’s no “the house won’t let her go” either, nor did they bring a priest to perform a blessing. Maybe it was timing issues, or perhaps somethings were left in the editing.

Now, to the reviewer who criticizes Lorraine for being clairvoyant, that’s a gift she has. She’s not a witch, she’s not doing magic, she just has a sensitivity to the spirit world. To not use that gift, a God given gift by the way, would be sad. Ed and Lorraine have helped many people over decades, people that psychologists, doctors, and cops can’t help. I don’t envy them; they have had a hard life and have faced demonic attacks themselves. If you liked the movie, read the book.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Gregory, age 38 (USA)
Positive—“The Conjuring” is one of the best horror films I have seen this year. I typically don’t like possession movies, because they all want to be “The Exorcist,” and you can’t top that film. As an agnostic, I go into these films looking for entertainment, and this film thoroughly entertained me. But, as someone who was raised Christian, even I appreciated the fact that the film had such a strong pro-Christianity and faith message.

This film is currently tied for my favorite horror film of the year. Great performances. Some silly make-up and cheesy CGI, but I’ve seen worse. Lots of jump scares. Director James Wan has become one of my favorite directors since the first “Saw” film and the underrated “Dead Silence” (yes, the evil puppet movie).

I give this film a high recommend. Awesome old school feel to the film (think “The Changeling”). If you like horror movies, regardless of your beliefs, this is one to see.
My Ratings: Moral rating: none / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—John B. (an agnostic), age 31 (USA)
Positive—The most “jumps” I’ve had in a movie since “Insidious.” Music made the scenes even scarier. I went to see it with my 16 year old daughter, and we both said the ending was great. Often in these types of movies the ending is up-in-the-air or leaves a negative feeling. This one allowed you to be scared silly but leave feeling all was well again. Great Horror Movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kathy, age 47 (Canada)
Positive—I have to say I’ve seen quite a few horror movies over the past several years. Some of them were, what I call, “stinkers” and some have been REALLY good. “The Conjuring” falls under REALLY good. It has to be one of the scariest, mind blowing movies I have seen since “The Woman In Black.” There’s no gore or blood, so if you’re into THAT type of horror, “The Conjuring” may disappoint you. However, The Conjuring is a tribute to a form of scare that people have been asking for for years now, and I respect its director and cast for putting in a job well done.

My only warning is that the stuff in this movie is real. No question about it. It may make the movie more disturbing (and it is borderline offensive, no doubt), but we, as Christians, need to be rest assured that with Jesus in our lives that Satan has no control over us. In my opinion, that includes demonic possessions.

If you’re a fan of horror movies with that old “who’s coming out of the closet” feel, then I say spend the few dollars and check out The Conjuring (its more fun in a dark theater) while it’s still in theaters. Congrats cast and crew!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Alexander Malsan, age 23 (USA)
Neutral—I wanted to comment on some things not addressed by the reviewer. After seeing the film I went and read an interview with Lorraine Warren, the surviving members of the Warren spirit investigators. She herself commented that she was worried that the film will make people fear demons. Indeed, as a horror film, the object is not to teach proper demonology (it teaches many false aspects, actually), but to scare the audience.

Nowhere in the film is the name of Jesus invoked against the demon, but rather the ambiguous “in the name of God.” Lorraine explained that it was the name of Jesus. Moreover, the movie portrayed her as a “clairvoyant,” whereas she described herself as a “devout Catholic,” and nowhere implies clairvoyant powers (at least not in the interview I read).

Finally, in the film, the possessed woman never turns to Christ, whereas in real life the Perron family did turn to Christ, without which no true exorcism would have been possible. We must beware of films that revel in entertaining us with demons, rather than teaching us that Jesus has power over the demons.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Dr. David, age 46 (USA)
Neutral—This movie had some frightening moments and was better than average in some scenes. From a Biblical point of view, I had a problem with three things. Not once in this movie did anyone pray together, or individually. Also, why in the world would the Warrens actually keep those hideous items attached to evil in their house? With their own child living in the home no less! The movie gave the Warren’s reason for it, but it still made absolutely no sense to me and was downright creepy!

The wording used when Ed Warren told the demon to go back to hell where it belonged (i.e, “In the power of God”) was incorrect. Jesus Christ is the final authority over all things, and Christians saved in Christ have divine authority to use His name. To not use His name in ordering a demon to leave is foolish and dangerous.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Maxy, age 65 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—The Conjuring is an absolutely terrifying experience. It's the best horror movie of 2013 so far. It also has a very good Christian message.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—C, age 15 (USA)

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