Mom gets wildly demon-possessed in James Wan’s formidable The Conjuring (2013) but before that, she and the rest of the family incur “infestation”: unclean spirits in the house, getting all spooky.  Mom is played by a magnificent Lili Taylor, who is every bit a mother (of five daughters) in the role, is convincingly worried and appalled, and is creepily demonized without a trace of overacting.

The film itself needed the excess happenings sliced from its plot unless of course the excess went on in real life, for The Conjuring  is “based on a true story.”   It’s a story involving not only demons but also two Catholic paranormal investigators (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson), who manage to be efficacious in a vital exorcism.  And it does this without any jabs at the Catholic church.  (Take THAT, Village Voice.) 

As a horror director James Wan knows what he’s doing.  It’s an expert work visually and photographically, if not so much in its scenario.  There’s a clever title sequence at the end, too.