Andy's Review of The Conjuring
A good psychological horror film requires a very delicate balance of most of the major film disciplines (writing, directing, cinematography, etc.); tip that balance even a little, and the whole thing can collapse. Despite some hokey dialogue, James Wan's The Conjuring is a gorgeous, low key frightfest that is guaranteed to induce feelings of unease and dread.
The actual premise is nothing new: a family, terrorized by a spirit of possibly demonic origin, enlists the help of paranormal detectives (or demonologists, ghost hunters, or kooks) to rid themselves of their torment. While the fact that The Conjuring is based on a true story adds a bit of weight to the proceedings, it is not enough to counteract the blandness of the plot or the sometimes corny dialogue.
That said, all the major flaws of this film have now been covered. Virtually everything else about it, from the precise direction and incredible cinematography to the outstanding set design and haunting imagery, is world-class, making The Conjuring a landmark in modern psychological horror.