The Conjuring focuses on Ed and Lorraine Warren who where paranormal investigators in the 1960's and 1970's. This film focuses on one particular tale, one "that's never been told before." While the Insidious films exist in the modern day and have nothing to do with religion, The Conjuring exist in the vein of The Exorcist. The Warren's are intensely Catholic, with Ed Warren the only "demonologist" recognized by the Catholic church. Lorraine is a clairvoyant and can feel things just by touching them, whether it be people or things.
The Perron family moves into an old house in New England and soon after they get settled, they find out it is haunted. Carolyn Perron visits one of the Warren's college lectures and implores them to take a look at her house. They don't want to, and they almost write her off with "most things have a logical explanation". I found this strange, as the Warren's were the premier paranormal investigators at the time, so why would they write this woman off so quickly? They visit the house and immediately find out that it is the epicenter of a lot of hauntings and mysterious deaths over the last 150 years. As you can probably guess, after this they work to purge the house of these evil spirits and demons and go through a terrifying ordeal.
One of the things I like about James Wan's style is that keeps everything on a realistic bent. You're always feeling like this could happen to you. He never takes the audience for granted, and lets them in on any secret, so that they always know what is happening, and at the same time manages to suprise them at every turn. James Wan is a true modern master of horror, I hope he finds time to return to the genre after Fast and Furious 7. If you liked Insidious check this out. And if you liked The Conjuring check out Insidious.
4 out of 5 stars