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It is somehow surprising that James Wan is able to squeeze some more or less creepy moments out of the most used and abused haunted house cliches… but you have to concede that he does that probably better than anybody else these days. On the other hand, anybody else would not get the idea of making yet another movie about a house that is haunted and inflicts its various evil spirits on its inhabitants so that they cannot even move out to get rid of it anymore.

So here we go: Amityville-Exorcist-Poltergeist mashup number 37 (roughly), and hard to be distinguished from those others. Why it is that the film is getting rave reviews is beyond me, maybe because it is positioned to attract an audience that has not seen the three original movies and only 3 of the 37 rip-offs. For that audience, this is no doubt a functional ghost story, with footsteps, creaking doors, haunted basements, and misogynous main spirit boss bitch. What I found slightly odd is that they decided to focus on the build-up to the confrontation, and did away with the family’s efforts to get rid of the unwanted tenants rather casually. I can only guess that they were running a bit out of play time: in contrast to the usual setup, they did not only need to focus on introducing the family, and have the weird things getting started. They also have to deal with the family of ghostbusters, who get their own back story and only merge the main narrative line late in the film. Hence not so much time for a full-flavoured exorcism, but merely a bit of blood spitting and elevating, bargain edition. As it’s that time of the year, with sun setting early and the occasional autumn storm banging the tree against the windows, it’s good to have “The Conjuring” on the playlist. Groundbreaking and innovative it is not.

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