The Conjuring ★★★½

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Certainly not the modern classic some are hailing it as, and those 5 star reviews are a bit over the top to put it mildly, but James Wan's latest fright flick is a refreshingly retro spookshow, succeeding via malevolent mood and expert manipulation of primal fears of things that go bump in night. The Conjuring has evocative period detail and well orchestrated scares, it's an effective mainstream horror, but hardly original or revolutionary. Infact you could pretty much tick off all the expected cliches and genre tropes as you go along, some rather randomly shoe-horned into proceedings as though from an entirely different film - Annabelle the creepy doll the worst offender.
However, there's no denying Wan knows the mechanics of the horror genre inside out and is increasingly adept at exploiting them, creating sustained tension and a sense of dread and doom, although despite its numerous scare tactics, The Conjuring never once made me jump, possibly an indication of its underlying lack of true originality. It's certainly a cut above most modern mainstream Hollywood horror offerings, but as far as 70s inspired creepshows go, I found Ti West's similarly old fashioned House Of The Devil far more effective and creepy.

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