The Grade Book: “The Conjuring”

The Conjuring

Plot: Two paranormal investigators help a family that is terrorized by a dark presence. 

Director: James Wan. 

Writers: Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes. 

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, and Ron Livingston. 

Genres: Horror, Thriller.

Running Time: 1 hour and 52 minutes.

U.S. Release Date: July 19th, 2013.

MPAA Rating: R.




(Lowest Grade Given to the Film: C-, Highest Grade Given to the Film: A)

SUMMARY OF THOUGHTS: The Conjuring benefits from James Wan’s committed direction, a strong cast, and a 1970s horror film vibe, but it suffers a bit from its seen-it-all-before material.



  • Nick Casaletto:

Grade: A-

The Conjuring is a great entry in the horror genre. The performances, for the most part, are all top-notch, with a standout one from Vera Farmiga. The scares are earned, the visuals are terrific, and the long shots throughout the film really add the necessary tension to a great horror film. I hope this isn’t the last time we see the Warrens on screen and that James Wan directs the sequel — because he knows how to execute a horror film, incredibly well.

  • Joe Cauwel:

Grade: C

The Conjuring looks good and sounds good. But besides the technical film-making skills displayed here, the film is completely unoriginal — even having to play up the “based on a true story” crap. I was not the least bit scared and I have a hard time saying that the film is anything but average.

  • Ryan Fecskovics:

Grade: B+

A horror film with a good story. It’s fun to watch and I recommend it. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are a great duo. See it now!

  • Chad Gleason (MovieManCHAD):


Grade: C-

True or not true, I just wanted to be scared, and I wasn’t. This is just more of the same. Next.

  • Mike Holtz (WeWatchedAMovie):

Grade: B-

Great acting and direction for a horror film, and a well-executed creepfest. Some slow spots and really nothing all that original here that we haven’t seen done before a hundred times. But it is done well.

  • Steven Hunt:

Grade: B

A solid horror movie the proves once again that James Wan knows how to create amazing atmospheres. The acting in this movie is well done as well. The tension in this movie is very slow-building, and most of the scares pack a punch. I felt a few fell flat, so that disappointed me a bit. Overall, not as scary as Insidious, but still very good.

  • John Maffeo:

Grade: B+

One of the most impressive films in the horror genre I’ve seen in my young life! For a 2013 film, it certainly works like a classic 1970s piece with relatable characters and a scary plot. The scares come plenty and the imagery may just haunt you for days upon weeks upon months. It’s James Wan’s most mature work of art and it must be seen!

  • Matt Marshall:

Grade: B+

The Conjuring might be frightening for the masses, but I didn’t find the movie scary in the slightest. James Wan still managed to construct a strong contemporary addition to the genre that’s anchored by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as a husband/wife real-life paranormal team.

  • Austin Putnam:

Grade: A

I literally haven’t been THIS scared since I saw 1973’s The Exorcist. James Wan crafts a fantastic scare-your-pants-off supernatural horror film. I’m a huge fan of ghost stories, and oh my word…there were at least two to three sequences where I was just frozen in fear. Without a doubt, it’s the best horror film of the year (maybe just so far, but The Conjuring put up a very high bar to beat) and one of my favorites of the year.

  • Christian Ruvalcaba:

Grade: B

Though not the most original horror film to date, it does bring in a few scares that stuck with me after leaving the film in general. It would have been nice to see some aspects of the film change around to make it more authentic, but what gets me going about this film is the era. The tone of the 1970s worked so well with the horror and made the film far more interesting. The two lead roles work greatly with each other and the overall payoff is good enough to pass as a pretty good horror flick.

  • Brandt Sohn:

Grade: A-

Easily the scariest film I have seen all year. James Wan continues to prove himself as a great director in the horror genre, and this is his most mature film. The acting is great from the entire cast, and their reactions add to the horrific sequences and are never distracting. When you can take away all of the scares and still have an interesting movie, that is how you know you have a truly great horror movie. The Conjuring has the story to back up the scares, but when the film needs to get scary, it has no problems doing so. There is a real sense of tension that continues to build, and when the film does unleash its scares, the tension still remains and keeps on building. There are no false scares, only misdirections as the script avoids almost all cliches. Every scare is well earned as this film relies more on atmosphere than “gotcha” moments, although it definitely brings on the horror when it needs to. A fantastic tribute to the haunted house films of the 1970s.

  • Delon Villanueva:

Grade: B

It’s not exactly the “nightmare” that critics have been raving about, but it’s a well-made horror film, with James Wan’s direction being the star of the show. I haven’t seen any of his other films, but I was very impressed with what he did aesthetically in this movie, from genuinely giving a 1970s vibe to building great tension with certain shots. Although I personally wasn’t terrified, I still found a lot to appreciate. Wan truly has passion for horror, and I want to see what else he can do.

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