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Published: 4:02 AM, August 7, 2013
Updated: 8:30 PM, August 7, 2013
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About a third into a screening of the horror film The Conjuring — in the thick of a terrifying scene that will forever rule out the possibility of me investing in any sort of real estate involving old houses with dark basements — a woman in her late 20s scrambled past me to flee the cinema.

“I’m sorry,” whispered her plus-one as he trailed behind her. “Someone’s really scared.”

She wasn’t the only one to skedaddle out of the darkness into brighter safety. About a dozen other hardnosed entertainment journos, most of whom have probably experienced their fair share of real-life horror — like interviewing Angelina Jolie — also bolted from their seats.

“Wow,” laughed The Conjuring director James Wan. “They’re chicken-s***, is what they are!”

Wan is the Malaysia-born, Australia-raised director behind spooktacular flicks like Insidious and the original Saw movie. And the man loves his job.

“That’s my favourite thing about making these movies: Watching people watch the film. I’ll just pop my head in and watch people squirm or slide down in their seats. I love that,” he smiled. “It’s good. I like that kind of sadism!”

With The Conjuring, Wan has hit the sadism jackpot. It is the scariest movie of the year. The film was given an R-rating in the United States (NC16 in Singapore) — despite its lack of blood and violence. It’s that creepy. And to top it all off — cue the ominous music — it’s based on a true story.


It’s 1971. The Perron family — Dad Roger (Ron Livingston), mom Carolyn (Lily Taylor) and their five daughters — moves into an old farmhouse in Rhode Island. Very soon, things go bump in the night, mysterious bruises start to appear, and it becomes clear that all is not right with the property. Desperate for help, The Perrons reach out to “demonologists” Ed and Lorrain Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) to protect their family.

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