Reviewed by: Ryan Callaway
clairvoyant—“a person who claims to have a supernatural ability to perceive events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact”
ghosts in the Bible
demons in the Bible
Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer
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
Is Jesus Christ God? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer
Vera Farmiga … Lorraine Warren
Patrick Wilson … Ed Warren
Lili Taylor … Carolyn Perron
Ron Livingston … Roger Perron
Shanley Caswell … Andrea
Hayley McFarland … Nancy
Joey King … Christine
Mackenzie Foy … Cindy
Kyla Deaver … April
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|Director||James Wan—“Insidious,” “Dead Silence,” “Saw”|
Evergreen Media Group
New Line Cinema
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|Distributor||New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures|
“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.”
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.