I will be conjuring spoilers.
I was not sure what to make of this film in the first act. The only words I could come up with were unbalanced and unscary. When the movie ended I was thankfully proven wrong.
It is unclear what the films intentions are as it introduces us to our main characters, Demonologists Mr. and Mrs. Warren. They are investigating a supernatural force menacing people through a creepy doll. Once this setup is over though we are thrust into a hastily edited and sloppily shot haunting.
The Perron family has just moved to a nice country house to raise their five daughters. We are given brief glimpses into the family’s personality but the film barely develops them any further than being demon fodder.
The camera hardly holds a shot long enough to build suspence and this started to hurt the film as the second act began. The saving graces were the scenes focusing on the Warrens and the history they have as paranormal investigators. Once the two storylines converge it becomes clear that the “sloppy” opening was only an eleborate setup/mythology builder for the remaining two thirds of the film.
The film plays like a cross between Poltergiest and The Exorcist and that is where the strength of the film resides. Once the Warrens enter the Perron’s house the pacing,editing,camera work and music all tighten up considerably and along with some great acting help the film deliver an almost pitch perfect horror/suspense/mysterious adventure.
The movie excells in the visuals department and while there are horrific moments the audience is allowed to let there imagination run wild for the worst of it.
A second viewing may be required to fully take in all the nuances and get a better appreciation of the films opening.
Go out and see The Conjuring.