THE CONJURING is in the admirable class of horror films that avoid excessive bloodletting and gore to achieve their desired effect; it understands that its scares originate from the anticipation more than the reveal.

Director James Wan’s new film really knows how to work an audience, and I fully expect it will be the most successful of all the new releases this weekend. And it should be – because if you programmed a computer to equate and combine all of the elements that constitute a profitable horror film, it would churn out a script that looks a lot like ‘The Conjuring’.  It’s an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ kind of movie, mixing ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘Poltergeist’ with a little bit of ‘Paranormal Activity’ thrown in for good measure. 

Still, as overstuffed, overlong and overly familiar as the film is, it is made with a tremendous amount of craft, an appealing cast and a great sensitivity for the slow burn of suspense.[B]