#8. The Conjuring. d. James Wan. USA.
Whether planned or not, my best of the year lists always end up encompassing at least one major Hollywood effort, and this year, that distinction goes to this legitimately frightening and engrossing haunted house/exorcism tale that became one of the notable box office hits of 2013. Anchored by two marvelous performances from the leading ladies (Vera Farmiga, who's almost always great, and Lili Taylor, who hasn’t been this good in a long time), The Conjuring molds a number of familiar genre tropes (youthful games, bumps in the night, creepy children, murdered pets, possessed dolls) into a scary, entertaining, and—dare I say, coming from the director of Saw—tasteful bit of horror.
The Conjuring is available on Blu-ray and DVD in the U.S. from Warner Bros., who also released it in the U.K. and France.
With: Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Shannon Kook, John Brotherton