The Conjuring Poster

Director James Wan broke through with the subtle-as-a-sledgehammer slasher-thriller Saw, but in 2010 scaled back his scare tactics in the spooky haunted house horror movie Insidious. Next up, he seeks spookiness in the incredible story of Lorraine and Ed Warren, a married couple who devote their lives to paranormal investigation. While some might scoff at this vocation, it's worth noting that the Warrens were tracking ghosts long before there was a string of reality TV series dedicated to this niche occupation. They were called in for cases of suspected werewolves, demons, and poltergeists, and most famously inspected the house from The Amityville Horror. But The Conjuring focuses on a lesser-known case in the couple's files.

While Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga portray Ed and Lorraine, Lili Taylor plays a wife and mother whose happy home-life is turned into a living hell when some playful but cruel spirits move in. The film's first trailer gave us a peek at these perturbing poltergeists, but the poster—released via Facebook—seems to allude to the past of one in particular, the "really bad" witch that Wan warned us about at NY Comic Con.

At that panel discussion, the assembled audience was treated to a trailer that showed glimpses of this ghostly witch in action, images that made us all shriek in giddy terror. Curiously, I've not yet seen that trailer resurface. Instead, New Line Cinema's been favoring a more restrained approach. Instead of the splashy but clichéd trailer I saw last fall, the distributor released one that focuses on a clip that had the Comic Con crowd going wild. Likewise, this new poster sets the stage, but doesn't give away any of the film's scares. It's a tantalizing tease that has me eager from some summer terror.

The Conjuring opens July 19th.

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