Plenty of other people have already done the plot overviews, so I will spare you. I’ll try not to be too spoiler-rific in my yays and nays, but if you’ve seen it, you should know what I’m talking about.
What I liked:
-Establishing scenes: particularly of the Perrons moving into the house and the Warren’s occult museum.
-The mostly-restrained and eerie build-up of supernatural events that preceded everything getting all cray-cray.
-That scene where one of the younger daughters was awakened, looked under the bed slowly, and did that croaking nightmare-voice to wake her sister that we all remember doing in our childhoods. This movie played really well on childhood fears.
-The quick and unceremonious revelation of the house’s history. As Ed says, “Well. That explains a lot.”
-THAT FUCKING DOLL–EXCEPT I ALSO HATED IT.
-The performances, particularly Vera Farmiga’s as Lorraine Warren.
What I could have done without:
-Poor Sadie’s fate
-The girl getting pulled around the room by her hair (although the scissors-as-solution were a nice touch)
-The melodramatic whispered line of “Look what she made me do!” Inaudible ghosts are way creepier than eloquent ones.
-Waking up in the middle of the night and wondering if some scary old witch-ghost was going to vomit demonic blood into my mouth.
-Some of Lili Taylor’s saccharine flights of fancy about how her family “means the world” to her. Of course your family means the world to you. Is that really necessary? Maybe I just hated her character in Six Feet Under so much when she’s being all maternal I have a hard time liking her.
-The only major complaint I had with this film (and James Wan films in general): sometimes it just reveals too much and loses its carefully honed edge.
What totally made my weekend:
-During one of those jump-scares that did make the trailer, a young man about three rows from the front got so scared that his jumbo-sized popcorn flew into the air in a twirling fountain of butter and popped-kernels, precipitating the kind of hysterical group-laugh that only emerges when one is pumped full of adrenaline.
-Checking out the Warrens’ website. Seriously guys, go look at it. You will laugh until you cry. And then it’s also kind of interesting. And then you will laugh more.
You’ll have fun with this one if you don’t expect too much and just go into it with the desire to have a good time. If jump scares make you want to kick daffodils, then probably don’t go. There are many of them (jump scares, not daffodils).