James Wan's The Conjuring is now streaming on Netflix.
There are thrills and scares on Netflix right now, as The Conjuring, the first movie in both the franchise and its larger cinematic universe, has been added to the streamer’s library. Directed by Saw creator James Wan, the movie stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as the demon-busting Warrens, a real-life couple who allegedly exorcise malevolent spirits they find in their supernatural investigations. The movie was so scary that when it was being assigned its R rating by the MPAA, advisors told production that there was no “one thing” they could edit from the film to lower its rating to PG-13.
In the first film of the Conjuring series, Ed and Lorraine Warren are called to Rhode Island by Ron and Carolyn Perron, who are experiencing abuse from a hostile supernatural entity. The Warrens’ task is to determine if an exorcism should be ordered for the family, especially as the Perrons are not members of the Catholic Church. As more signs of supernatural activity and demonic possession emerge, the couple learns that an old and vengeful spirit has attached itself to the property and anyone who dares claim it.
As the events intensify, the Warrens must protect Ron, Carolyn, and their five daughters from the ravages of accused witch Bathsheba Sherman. The Conjuring establishes that the Warrens have experience doing such supernatural warfare as needed to help the Perrons, including the authority to reach out to the Vatican. Can all their collective years of supernatural know-how save the family from becoming the latest victims of a vindictive spirit?
The movie was well-received upon its release in 2012, with critics praising its mood, ambiance, and choice of practical effects over digital. It has an 86 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 68. Notably, The Conjuring also has a grade of A- from CinemaScore, making it the first horror film to rate so highly with the site.
Originally referred to as “a Warren Files project,” The Conjuring is the first of several movies that document the couple’s alleged forays into the realms of the supernatural. The titular doll Annabelle is mentioned in the movie and was the subject of a 2014 follow-up to The Conjuring. Both films spawned multiple sequels, with a fourth installment to The Conjuring set to be released in 2024.
Other spin-offs of The Conjuring include The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona, which also feature the Warrens as protagonists. A series of short films also explores some of the cases the Warrens claim to have investigated leading up to the Rhode Island incident. The Nun 2 is due in theaters later this year.
James Wan directed The Conjuring as part of a revival of his career after he was unable to reproduce the success of Saw, his first feature film. He has directed a few movies in the series, including Annabelle Comes Home and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, while also embracing other projects such as both Aquaman movies for DC Studios and the off-the-rails action-horror film Malignant. His Blumhouse release, M3GAN, is debuting in theaters this weekend.
Subscribers to Netflix can find The Conjuring under “horror,” and fans that can’t get enough can also watch the second movie in the series for even more scares.