When it comes to horror movies, it’s all about the jump. This one has a lot of jumps. Plus some fine acting, thanks to possessed mom  Lili Taylor  (the best possessed victim since Linda Blair in “The Exorcist”), hubby Ron Livingston ,  married ghosthunters Patrick Wilson and  Vera Farmiga , along with Joey King, who played the daughter in “White House Down”.

This one’s set up like a prequel to “The Amityville Horror”, since it follows an earlier  haunting investigated by real-life ghosthunters Ed and Lorraine Warren. The movie’s end poses the question : is a 3rd version of  “The Amityville Horror” on the way??

The opening scenes of supposed real hauntings  are terrifying  and evened out by the alleged hauntings  scientifically explained away by the ghosthunters . So it becomes clear, before we even meet the Perron family , that in most cases,  ghosts are imagined.

As with most horror films,  the scariest moments are early in the film, because the scares come from what’s NOT seen.  Maybe it’s me, but as soon as the  ghost  becomes a physical reality, I’m no longer scared. When mom Carolyn is possessed by the ghost, it was Taylor’s fine acting, not the fear of demonic possession that most impressed me. It seems all these ghosts look pretty much the same, movie to movie.

This is a total throwback to the horror flicks of the 70’s. Hell, it’s set in  1970.

“The Conjuring” conjures no gore but lots of scares. It could well leave you haunted by the possibilities.

3 stars