Director James Wan had been directing horror movies for quite a few years when he made this movie, the start of his Conjuring universe of movies. Wan had previously directed such movies as Saw and Insidious.
The is very loosely based on real life paranormal investigates Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). The movie opens with a very awesome cold opening about a possessed doll named Annabelle. The story very creepy and very well executed.
Set in 1971 Roger and Carolyn Perron (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) move into a farm house in Rhode Island with their five daughters Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy, and April. (Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy and Kyla Deaver). The family dog won’t enter the house. Soon the family starts to have strange things happen. All the clocks in the house stop at 3:07 AM. The dog is found dead in the backyard. The kids play a hide and clapping game. One night Carolyn is woken by the sound of something clapping in the night. When she goes to investigate she is attacked by something.
Carolyn goes to Ed and Lorraine for help. They come out to investigate the house. They believe the house is in need of an exorcism but they need to get permission from the Catholic Church. They find out the house used to be owned by a witch named Bathsheba Sherman who sacrificed her child to Satan and killed herself at 3:07 AM in 1863. They believe the witch has cursed the house and is terrorizing the family. More strange things occur and soon the family has to move out for safety while Ed and Lorraine try to get an exorcism performed.
This is an excellent horror movie and Wan has become pretty damn good and scaring people. The success of this movie started several sequels and spin-offs. Annabelle, the possessed doll has had three movies and the creepy nun demon from The Conjuring 2 had its own movie too. But the first is still the best.