Film / The Conjuring

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The Conjuring is a 2013 horror film directed by James Wan (of Saw and Insidious) purportedly based on a case of the real-life Warrens.

Harrisville, Rhode Island, 1971. The Perron family have just moved into their new home out in the country. Immediately, strange things begin to happen; all the clocks stop at 3:07 AM, doors move on their own, birds crash against the windows, and something invisible grabs one of the daughters by the leg at night. The phenomena escalate in terror and violence, until the Perrons enlist the help of experienced paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. That's when the spirits decide to step up their game and give the Warrens the most terrifying case of their careers.

A 2014 prequel by the name of Annabelle featuring the creepy doll from the movie has been released as well.

A sequel titled The Conjuring 2 was released in June 10, 2016.

Watch the main trailer here.

These movies contain examples of:

     In both movies 
  • The '70s: The time period of both films.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Or rather, Horror Film, Quiet Drama Scene. Both films feature scenes where the Warrens bond with the families they are facing. The first film has Carolyn reminiscing about her past happy times with her family to Lorraine, while the second has Lorraine comforting Janet over her psychic ability, not to mention Ed's guitar showoff.
  • Adorkable: Ed can be so sweet and awkward at times. In the sequel, when he plays guitar and sings an Elvis song?
  • Adult Fear: The first film has a lot, but particularly near the end when possessed Carolyn kidnaps two of the girls and takes them back to the house to be sacrificed. The second film, though, ramps this up as the Enfield haunting centers on a divorced mother and her four young children, which means that she also faces the challenge of raising them in an impoverished state in addition to the haunting.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: Both films.
    • There are the claims that the Warrens are nothing more than hucksters and the Perrons invented the hauntings and called them because they thought they could make some money off the story. Lampshaded at the beginning; when someone asks what, specifically, the Warrens are called, Ed begins, "Demonologists, ghost hunters..." Lorraine adds in, "Kooks."
    • The Warrens were only very tangentially connected to the Enfield poltergeist, and didn't play the prominent role the second movie attributes them in the case.
  • Based on a True Story: Unlike most horror movies, this isn't used as a marketing ploy. Ed and Lorraine Warren were real life paranormal investigators and the film is based on one of their many cases and the Perron family are in fact real. This is to the point that a trailer was released with segments from the real Lorraine Warren and Perron family talking about the events that transpired.
  • Battle Couple: Ed and Lorraine are happily married and fight the forces of darkness as a team.
  • Big Bad:
    • In the first film Bathsheba, a satanist who sacrificed her baby and hanged herself after being discovered who wants to possess living mothers to sacrifice their children too.
    • In the second film, Bill Wilkins, the Enfield Poltergeist, is introduced as the mastermind behind the horror. But it's actually the demon Valak who's really behind everything.
  • Christianity Is Catholic:
    • The Warrens are authorized by the Vatican to perform an exorcist against a witch of Salem, even though the Catholic church wasn’t behind the Salem Witch trials.
    • Even more noticeable in the sequel, were the Catholic Church sends the Warrens to investigate a case in London, England affecting a family that gives no indication at all of being Catholic.
  • Creepy Basement: Many of the series' events take place in unlit, creepy cellars.
  • Creepy Child: Rory from the first film, on the few occasions you get a good look at him. However, creepy is as bad as he gets, as he's actually a benevolent ghost due to being a victim of Bathsheba's curse.
    • In the second, Janet becomes this whenever she becomes possessed by the ghosts/demons.
  • Demonic Possession: In the first film, Carolyn Perron, the mother of the Perron family, gets possessed by the witch Bathsheba. In the second, Janet Hodgson gets possessed by Bill Wilkins and Valak.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Both films end with the main villain being banished back to the pits of Hell.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Both films end on a happy note, although the Warrens and the families they face need to go through hell before they can gain it.
  • Everybody Lives: With the exception of the Evil-Detecting Dog, none of the characters die in this movie. This is repeated again in the second, despite every indication that Ed wouldn't survive, except that the aforementioned (different) evil-detecting dog also gets to live.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Both movies feature one.
    • In the first, the Perron's dog refuses to enter the house, sensing malevolent forces within. For its trouble, it becomes the film's only casualty.
    • In the second, the dog of the Hodgson's neighbors, the Nottinghams, seems to shape up as one as it becomes restless once the Hodgsons move in, but it turns out that Valak only uses its image to create the Crooked Man, making it a subversion, as the dog doesn't figure much afterward.
  • Fantastic Catholicism: True to the real Warrens, who invoked the trope in their writings.
  • Greater Scope Villain: Bathsheba is a Satanist, which means that the forces of Darkness aka Satan itself is really behind all this. This gets neatly touched upon in the second, too, as the film's true Big Bad is Valak, the Great President of Hell and thus Satan's underling according to traditional demonology.
  • Happily Married: The Warrens, as well as the Perrons from the first film.
  • Haunted House: In the first film, it soon becomes a haunted family as the spirits latch onto the Perrons to the point that leaving the house doesn't help them.
    • The second film features the ghost of an elderly man who wants to return to his family in the Hodgsons' house, which once belonged to his, only to realize that all of them have long gone. While it is implied at first that he haunts the house because he doesn't want anyone to claim it, it is revealed later on that the old man wants to move on, but is prevented from doing so by Valak.
  • Historical Beauty Update: Inverted with Annabelle. The real Annabelle doll is a Raggedy Ann, not the more human-looking and terrifying thing that appears here.
  • Jump Scare: Many of the scares. Some of these are actually kind of effective.
  • Museum of the Strange and Unusual: The Warrens' have turned a room in their house into a collection of cursed objects that people are allowed to tour on the condition that you do not touch anything, especially not Annabelle. This aspect is Truth in Television: You really can take tours of this room in the Warren home, complete with the "real" Annabelle.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • A lot of the horror in these movies rely on these as opposed to JumpScare. To put it in context, the first film was slapped with an R rating despite lacking enough violence or language that usually warrants the rating. James Wan was told by the MPAA that the film got an R rating simply because the atmosphere was too frightening for a PG-13 and there was nothing he could trim to lower it. And then, with the sequel, it happened all over again.
    • Both movies feature scenes after the climax where the camera focuses on a particularly sinister object, leaving viewers anxious for an upcoming Jump Scare... and nothing happens.
  • Occult Detective: The Warrens, natch.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: The circus music box, natch. It appears in the trailers for the sequel, as well.
  • Perverse Puppet: Annabelle. The first thing we see in the film is this extraordinarily horrible doll from an earlier case, and we learn right away from the Warrens that she's pure evil. She even joins in the Perron haunting for a bit when the spirits breach the Warrens' home. Thankfully, she becomes a mere prop at the second, though still looking ominously on the Warren's haunted object collection room.
  • Religious Horror: Featuring haunting, Fantastic Catholicism, Hollywood Satanism, Demonic Possession (by a ghost, but still), and Hollywood Exorcism. The second adds an actual demon into the mix.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Ed savvily asks the Perrons why they didn't just leave, but all their money's tied down to the house, and they know of nobody who'd willingly take in a whole family of seven in their home. Eventually, Ed realizes that the spirit has latched itself to the family, so it would just follow them wherever they went. He is proven correct when the family finally goes to a motel.
    • In the second, this happens to constables summoned to the Hodgsons' house. Once they see right from their own eyes that a chair moves on its own, they leave the case immediately and instead report it to someone more knowledgeable : the authorities.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Technically, all of the artifacts in the Warren basement count as this, including the music box, but Annabelle is a much straighter example, locked in a glass box. It even has a sign saying "Warning, Positively DO NOT Open".
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story:
    • In the first movie a lot of details were changed (in real life Carolyn Perron was already 'possessed' by the time the Warrens were called, the Perrons later dismissed the Warrens for not being of any help, the Perrons actually endured hauntings for ten years before moving out rather than the short time depicted in the film, etc.), but the real people involved don't seem to mind. Additionally, the Real Life version of "Annabelle" doll is actually a Raggedy Ann doll instead of creepy porcelain doll like in the film. The film's backstory about Annabelle is also a bit different than the real-life version. You can also see the comparison between the film and the real-life version here.
    • The second movie implies that the Warrens' investigation of the Amityville house took place just before the Enfield poltergeist began manifesting. In reality, the Warrens visited Amityville in early March 1976 while the events at Enfield started happening in August of 1977 and the Warrens themselves didn't visit Enfield until 1978.

     The Conjuring 
  • Ankle Drag: This happens to Christine Perron and Judy Warren in two separate occassions.
  • Arc Words: "Look what she made me do..."
  • Care-Bear Stare: Lorraine tries this tactic to exorcise Bathsheba from Carolyn's body.
  • Creepy Doll: Annabelle is creepy enough even without the demonic backstory behind her.
  • Cue the Sun: Right after the exorcism.
  • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: Warren's collection of cursed items includes a cymbal monkey. As Ed says to a journalist visiting it: "Nothing in here is a toy. Even the toy monkey."
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Inverted in this case. They wanted to provoke a reaction from the spirits, so the Warrens placed several religious relics around the house.
  • Ghostly Goals: Bathsheba possesses mothers and forces them to kill her children, as well as killing the dog for the evulz. Most definitely Type B.
  • Hollywood Satanism: Something that involves killing your own baby, hanging yourself, and making others do the same.
  • Human Sacrifice: Bathsheba sacrificed her baby to Satan in life, and in death she possesses mothers to sacrifice their children too.
  • Kick the Dog: The spirits murder Sadie the dog just to be cruel. And also because she can feel what they are.
  • Kill It with Fire: Discussed and averted. When asked point blank why he doesn't burn his possessed artifacts, Ed says that it's sometimes better to keep the genie in its bottle. Burning them might just let the spirits run rampant.
  • Living Prop: Two of them. One is Georgiana, Lorraine's mother, who is simply in the movie to have someone to watch over Judy while Ed and Lorraine help the Perrons. The second and more blatant example, is at the beginning of the movie, where we learn about Annabelle. Debbie and Camilla are telling everything to the Warrens, but there is a man with the girls, whose name is never mentioned, nor his relation to either of the girls, and he doesn't even speak a word.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    God brought us together for a reason.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Oh Drew. When one of the younger daughters goes missing, Drew decides to find her himself while the rest of the adults are dealing with the ensuing craziness. Upon finding her, he announces to everyone in the house, very loudly and in precise detail, EXACTLY where she is located. Bathsheba, while possessing Carolyn, has just broken free of her captors. Yes, she hears Drew, and yes, she heads straight towards the daughter.
  • Noodle Incident: Ed is reluctant to continue with any paranormal investigations due to an incident where Lorraine had a vision of "something" during an exorcism. We never find out what that something was, but it was enough to send Lorraine into a serious Heroic B.S.O.D. for several days.
    • This becomes a plot point in the second film, where we find out that it was a vision of Ed's death.
  • Real Person Cameo: The real Lorraine Warren plays the elder woman in the front row of the classroom when Carolyn is listening to the Warrens' presentation.
  • Rule of Three: The clocks always stop at 3:07 AM, and the angry disembodied knocks always come in threes. In the case of the former, this is Bathsheba's time of death, while for the latter, this is meant as an affront to the Holy Trinity, according to the Warrens.
  • Salem Is Witch Country: When she was alive, Bathsheba was a satanic witch descended from Mary Eastey, one of the women hanged at the trials.
  • Sequel Hook: After depositing the music box in the museum, Ed comments that they've been asked to investigate something on Long Island, a reference to the The Amityville Horror, though it would not occur for several years.

     The Conjuring 2 
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some caption text
  • Abusive Parents: Ed's father may have been this, judging from what little Ed tells us about him.
  • Agent Mulder: Maurice Grosse, who immediately believes the Hodgsons' case even when others, including the Warrens, are skeptical. He even gives the much-needed Ironic Echo comment to the Warrens near the end before the case is (apparently) dropped.
  • Agent Scully: Psychologist Anita Gregory doesn't believe the Hodgsons' haunting (as she did in real life), thinking that the children are lying for publicity. She even shows evidence that Janet is faking the whole thing about throwing the furniture, which in truth is really faked, because Janet doesn't want the Warrens to get involved further. However, this causes the film's Darkest Hour (see below).
  • Astral Projection: Lorraine is revealed to possess this, thanks to her psychic powers. It allows her to access recollections of memories.
  • Brick Joke: Early on, the washing machine in the basement breaks suddenly and violently, which seemingly has no influence on the rest of the plot aside from showing that spooky things are about to go down. Much later into the movie, we see the entire area has been completely flooded.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Lorraine's Bible. She wrote Valak's name on it during her Nightmare Sequence earlier in the film.
  • Christmas Songs: The film teaches you that should you ever hear "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", run like hell. Because, otherwise, Valak will come and get you.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Lorraine's visions of the future are what allow the Big Bad to be defeated, by revealing to her its True Name, which she then uses to banish it to Hell.
  • Continuity Nod
    • One of Ed's paintings is a sketch of the Perrons' house from the first film, complete with the tree and the noose where Bathsheba hung herself. In fact, it's the exact same as the page image as shown here, except hand drawn.
    • The Warrens' basement collection also features the music box which formerly belonged to the Perrons, and of course Annabelle.
    • The vision Lorraine had which caused her to shut herself in her room for eight days, mentioned but never revealed in the first film, is not only mentioned but also revealed here, and it is Ed being killed by Valak.
  • Cool Big Sis: Margaret is shown to be nurturing to all of her younger siblings. Janet is also seen particularly close with Billy, such as when she carries him on her back when they came home from school, when she teaches him to sing the nursery "The Crooked Man", and when she hugs him after Janet is reunited with the rest of her siblings.
  • Darkest Hour: Just when you think that Janet's haunting couldn't get any worse, Professor Gregory arrives to show the Warrens evidence that Janet is faking the haunting. When the Warrens tell Peggy about this and the fact that the Vatican would shut the case down should they receive the video, Peggy angrily shoos them away. The haunting promptly becomes worse when Janet physically injures Margaret and then barricades the house from the others. Thankfully, the Warrens quickly realize that the haunting is indeed real and, if believed, is even worse than they thought.
  • Deadly Distant Finale: It's mentioned that, forty years after the incident, Peggy dies in the same chair that Bill passed on in.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: The Big Bad is Valak, the President of Hell according to Ars Goetia.
  • Demoted to Extra: Drew Thomas, Warrens' assistant, only appears in the opening scene during Amytville case and is absent for the rest of the movie.
  • Disappeared Dad: Peggy Hodgson's husband abandoned the family to start another life with a woman from around the corner, with whom he already has twins. On top of that he is a deadbeat who is not providing child support and never shows up even as his children are being put through hell.
  • The Dragon: Bill Wilkins is revealed to be an unwilling one to Valak.
  • Eureka Moment: Each of the Warrens has one of these that contributes to saving the day:
    • When Ed drops some of the tapes of the recordings they made in the house he realizes that each of the recordings has a part of the message from Bill Wilkins about what is really going on.
    • Lorraine has one when she realizes that she has in fact written Valak's name in her Bible ever since her encounter with her earlier.
  • Evil Old Folks: Bill Wilkins ...isn't. As it turns out, he is merely commanded by Valak to haunt Janet. Bill himself just wants to pass on to the afterlife after seeing that all of his family had gone away.
  • Fighting a Shadow: Valak can't truly be killed; it can only be banished to where it comes from: Hell.
  • Forced into Evil: Bill Wilkins bears no ill will against the Hodgsons, but is forced to torment them, and Janet in particular, by the powerful demon Valak.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Inverted. Valak assumes the form of a nun specifically as a mockery of the Warrens' Catholic faith because it knows it will make them uncomfortable.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus/Foreshadowing: The identity of the Big Bad can actually be spotted in the Warrens' house long before Lorraine herself realizes it much later. Pay attention to the bookcase when Lorraine is sleeping on the couch and the bracelets that Judy made on the floor. Then also take note of the shiny balls hanging near the window in Ed's work room. All of them spell out "VALAK".
  • Gender Flip: Valak is usually depicted as a male in demonology. However, he is known as the "Demon Nun" in the credits, and is played by Bonnie Aarons, who is a female. Although, see A Form You Are Comfortable With.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    Ed: (referring to fixing the broken pipe in the basement) That's all right. I mean, how bad can it be?
    (cut to the basement, which gets flooded up to knee-length)
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Apparently, smoking is bad if you are a teenager who doesn't know much, but good if you are a single mother who has the stress of four children rested upon you.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Bill Wilkins can't resist crosses. Valak, on the other hand, is not only resistant, but also can flip them upside down just to mess with the protagonists.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Valak manifests into the form of a Nun with chalk-white skin and Black Eyes of Evil.
  • I Know Your True Name: Knowing the name of a demon will automatically make them weaker than you. Once Lorraine finds out that the demon who haunts her and Janet is called "Valak", she pronounces the name as part of her banishment, which works successfully.
  • Ill Girl: Janet becomes sickly once the haunting starts taking a toll on her body.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: The film somehow distorts "This Old Man" (and the similar rhyme "The Crooked Man") into a thing for everyone to dread at.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: An inhuman example. Despite appearing in the form of a nun, Valak is never referred with feminine pronoun. This is to emphasize how inhuman its nature really is. Also notable in this case since in the previous movie, the witch ghost Bathsheba is still referred with feminine pronoun.
    Bill Wilkins: It wants [Janet] so badly. It almost has her.
    Lorraine: The demon's name gives us power over it.
  • Jerkass: Peggy's ex-husband. To wit, he abandons his family, starts a new one with a woman who lived around the corner, hasn't paid child support for his 4 kids in months, doesn't lift a finger to help when his children start being brutalized by a poltergeist, and he took the families record collection with him when he left.
    • Anita Gregory comes across as this pretty often, especially since there are hints of classism in her arguments against the Hodgsons (namely that the haunting is a ploy to get better housing from the government).
  • Kids Are Cruel: A boy named Peter in the school insults Billy's Speech Impediment and calls Janet lesbo for some reason.
  • Literal Metaphor: When Peggy tells Ed Warren that her ex-husband took the music from their lives when he left, she is not using a figure of speech, the guy took the record collection with him.
  • Medium Blending: Subverted. Many presumed that the Crooked Man was made possible by means of stop-motion animation, but the character was actually played by a real actor.
  • No Sell: Valak is resistant against Holy Burns Evil. It's also able to block Lorraine's ability to psychically detect its presence (at first).
  • Nuns Are Spooky: Dear goodness, Valak.
  • Oh Crap!: Valak has one when Lorraine reveals she knows its name and can thus banish it back to Hell.
  • One Steve Limit: Utterly averted. There are no less than three characters named Margaret in the film: Margaret "Peggy" Hodgson, the matriarch of the Hodgson family; another Margaret Hodgson, a daughter of the former Margaret; and Margaret "Peggy" Nottingham, a neighbor of the former two. And yes, the two Peggys are always called by that, even to each other.
  • The Reveal: It isn't the ghost of Bill Wilkins who haunts the Hodgsons. It isn't even a ghost at all. It's a demon, and its name is Valak.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Were the murders at the Amityville house supernatural? The Warrens never do find out because Lorraine's vision of the event is interrupted midway by a premonition of their future confrontation with Valak.
  • Sequel Escalation: Previous film had the Warrens confronting an evil ghost, now they're facing a demon hellbent on getting someone, anyone, killed.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: The Warrens travel from America to England in this sequel.
  • Speech Impediment: Billy has a stutter, which his schoolmates bully him for.
  • Spirit World: While not one per se, Lorraine is capable of entering a memory of a place, which she uses to reenact the murders of the DeFeo family/the Amityville case. Unfortunately, she also experiences darker personal visions on it, such as seeing a vision of Ed being killed. Much later in the film, she enters it again to speak with Bill Wilkins and learn the true culprit of the Enfield haunting.
  • Spooky Painting: Ed paints impressions of the spirits that he saw in his dreams, which are then hung on around his house. The latest one is a creepy nun, which turns out to be the demon who haunts the Hodgsons, Valak.
  • That One Case: The film opens with the Warrens' case of the Amityville house, which they never manage to solve due to Lorraine freaking out over seeing an apparition of Valak killing Ed.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: The advertising for the film, particularly the first trailer and this poster, seem to imply that Lorraine may not survive. In the film proper, it's Ed who gets this treatment via Lorraine's vision of his death.
  • Twisted Christmas: The haunting takes place around Christmastime.
  • Undying Loyalty: Vic and Peggy Nottingham,the Hodgsons' neighbors who never falter in their support and help of the troubled family, even when the poltergeist attacks their own house and almost kills them with a thrown chimney front cover.
  • Wham Line:
  • Wham Shot: A shot showing the outside. Camera pans back inside a building, showing the two distinct windows of the famous haunted Amityville house.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out what happened to the spirit of Bill Wilkins. Presumably after Valak was defeated he may have been free to move unto the afterlife, but there is no confirmation either way.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Lorraine says this to Janet to counter her claim that being different makes her inferior to others.
  • Your Mom: One of the bullies in the school insults Janet by calling her lesbo (lesbian) out of nowhere, only for her friend to defend her by responding him, "What, you're talking about your mom?"

Alternative Title(s): The Conjuring 2

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