‘The Conjuring’ Earns R Rating for Being Too Scary

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:24 am,

the conjuring lili taylor r rating The Conjuring Earns R Rating for Being Too Scary

Insidious: Chapter 2 isn’t the only James Wan spookfest that moviegoers can look forward to this year. The director is doubling up with the release of his “true life” haunted house film The Conjuring, which is based on the story of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, best known for their involvement in the Amityville haunting case.

Wan’s new film isn’t about Amityville or George and Kathy Lutz, however, but is instead about another family called the Perrons, played by Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston, who enlist the Warrens’ help after they start experiencing strange phenomena in their new home. It’s a horror film we’ve been predicting could be a breakout hit – and today’s news is only further evidence of that potential.

Speaking to PeliBlog, producer Walter Hamada revealed that The Conjuring has been given an “R” rating by the MPAA, and it’s not because of blood, gore, swearing, sex, or any of the other usual offenders:

“When we sent it [to MPAA], they gave us the R-rating. When we asked them why, they basically said, ‘It’s just so scary. [There are] no specific scenes or tone you could take out to get it PG-13.’”

In most cases, earning an R rating can be fundamentally damaging to a movie’s potential box office intake, due to the loss in ticket sales to under-17s; however, a horror movie being rated “too scary” for PG-13 might actually be good publicity. Also, since the MPAA were unable to point to any particular scenes or moments that contributed to the film’s rating, Warner Bros. is keeping the July release date and will not be making any additional cuts. James Wan added that he’d received little studio interference during the making of The Conjuring, and says that the R rating:

“[Is] a testament to the studio for not f*cking with the film. It works and they are sticking to it and I’m very thankful for that.

To give you a little perspective, other horror movies that were deemed not scary enough for an R rating include Drag Me to HellThe Woman in BlackMamaThe Last ExorcismThe Others and The Ring. Not to mention, of course, Insidious. So just what did The Conjuring do that left the MPAA ratings board cowering in their executive chairs?

James Wan The Conjuring The Conjuring Earns R Rating for Being Too Scary

James Wan

The film is already the subject of a significant amount of hype. In early test screenings, The Conjuring generated “virtually unheard-of positive responses,” and when Screen Rant viewed early footage at last year’s New York Comic Con, we said that it was “going to be something special,” and that horror fans should start looking forward to what might be “the scariest movie of 2013.”

If you’re a fan of James Wan’s directorial style and were seriously spooked by Insidious, it’s a safe bet that The Conjuring will include the same brand of old-fashioned, bare-bones scare tactics. It’s not uncommon for children’s films to receive a ratings bump for scary imagery, but it’s usually only enough to take a G-rating up to PG. With horror, higher ratings are generally handed out due to the use of blood, language, or sexuality that are common in the genre, and it’s rare if not unheard-of to see a horror movie bumped up to an R purely because of an over-abundance of tension or fright. If the MPAA were deliberately trying to get people hyped for The Conjuring, it’s definitely worked on me.

The Conjuring trailer that premiered in February consists of the two preview clips that show Lili Taylor’s dealings with the hand-clapping, door-slamming ghost, so we’re expecting the second trailer, which features Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as the Warrens, to be released soon.


The Conjuring will manifest in theaters on July 19, 2013.

Source: PeliBlog (via WorstPreviews)

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  1. My interest is peeked.

    • or piqued but……yes, mine is too!

    • WOW, just saw it at the Drive in, Bose Stereo System and this is the scary movie I have been waiting for a long long time, Brilliant, Scary, and scarier than the exorcist, I never though it could happen.

  2. This news seems almost too ridiculous to be true. It’s April 1st so I’ll reserve my judgement until the 2nd.

  3. Anything James Wan directs I will see. Not a classic horror filmmaker, but the closest thing to it in this day and age.

  4. I’m suddenly intrigued from being absolutely not interested. Let’s see how this goes.

  5. No offense, but “Insidious” was a snoozefest… And the trailer for “The Conjuring” doesn’t look much better.

    • Then you are not easily scared or spooked….Not every movie can appeal to everyone but calling Insidious a snoozefest is not giving it the justice it deserves. It was a brilliant made movie, like The woman in black was. Not like the 100th teen horror movie that Hollywood throws at you.

      • HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! “Brilliantly made” you said that! You really said THAT!?! LOL!!!

        • Yeah, that was pretty funny… I am not easily scared or spooked, true… I just think the movie was silly. I don’t know why you’re being defensive about a movie you like. The “100 movies Hollywood throws out…” has absolutely NOTHING to do with my not liking “Insidious” nor “Woman in Black”. Good for you if you liked them… I just have a different standard for horror/thriller films.

  6. not gunna lie, the trailer was pretty freaking scary.

  7. I’m not a big fan of the horror genre, but I must say; this film looks rather scary with high intensity. And the cast, good cast.

  8. The trailer of this movie really made me Jump a little bit after the Clapper scene. Looks really scary Intense story.

  9. I recall seeing WAIT UNTIL DARK with no knowledge of the “surprise” coming toward the end of the 3rd Act. I did jump; my heart skipping that proverbial beat and later laughed at myself for being scared.

    It was fun because the surprise is always in not knowing.

    Watching the trailer for THE CONJURING, one might hope that we haven’t seen anything really that amounts to true shock value when the movie pays off in the end. That would be fine by me.

    Having said that, this trailer is what anyone would expect (and typically has seen many times) so presumably someone knows something more than what we’re being presented here. (I hope).

    I went to see WAIT UNTIL DARK on faith — and the film reviewers’ promise of a “surprise” without actually giving away the ending. If we could just get this much from THE CONJURING, maybe fans of the genre (and of the director) will have something here to really look forward to.

    • I agree…
      Even if a review or comment doesn’t reveal the surprise or twist I hate when a film is reviewed or advertised with the claim that you’ll never see the twist coming or that viewers will be surprised. When that happens starting from the first scene I start trying to figure out what the twist will be and IMO that hurts the natural flow of the movie.

  10. I think it also says a lot that the movie is being released in July. Most studios avoid releasing horror picks during the summer because they can get lost in the shuffle.
    This movie is gaining serious momentum on my must see list. Great trailer, R rating, summer release and good early buzz.
    I’m in.

  11. I would like to see a list of other movies that were rated-R based solely on being ‘too scary’ (if any).

  12. I think I’ll have to watch this on DVD. During the day. With every light on.

  13. PLEASE let this not be an April Fools prank? PLEASE?????

  14. I’ve been avoiding the trailer and any advertisements for this movie like the plague. Because I was scared out of my mind by Insidious and I’m gonna take my wussy butt to see this on opening night. Probably annoy everyone else in the theater with all my whimpering. I love a good horror flick *revs chainsaw*.

  15. James Wan directs, I ignore. I will forever be baffled as to how anyone could possibly enjoy INSIDIOUS; it was one of the single worst films ever made. I’ve seen home video of a Mormon church’s haunted house that had better production value

    • THANK YOU!

      • Seriously this movie is so stupid i do not no why this movie is considerd scary

  16. OMG… I watch the trailer and in freaked me out…can’t wait to watch it!!!

  17. The Conjuring check this out http://bit.ly/11DFzqU

  18. Can A 13 Year Old Go See It If It Doesnt Involve Sex And Blood And Watever Else ?

    • Definitely not. I’m a horror fanatic who loves horror films and is not usually scared when it comes to them and I literally slept with my lights and tv on last night. Only getting about 3 hours of sleep. Need I tell you I am a 22 year old male. Watch it first and then you be the judge! Great movie!

  19. look like im going to have to sneak in

  20. How old do u have to be to watch the conjuing

  21. Can’t wait to see this movie!!! Feeling excited at the same time scared hahaha:-)

  22. I wanna see it even more now.

  23. THE BEST MOVIE EVER! I love scary movies and in the past couple years I haven’t been scaried. To me the “scary” movies aren’t scary. But this movie scary me! Not because of blood but because it was just the freaking good! This is hands down my favorite me!

  24. Not bad but not scary enough and I watched it at 2′o clock at night the film lost its grip in the middle after the entry of the hero duet and afterwards it was like watching aliens attack with Arnold who you know will do the job at the end after all there were too many people in the house but overall decent

  25. The movie was not scary for me. Exorcism movies don’t have that much scare effect on me. I’m scared to gory horror films, though.

  26. Rated R for scary? Do you mean jump scares? Wait what I saw this movie. I walked out wanting my money back, and I do not usually want to do that. The praise is sneaking into rated R movie teenagers that give this movie a hype, because it really is a TV-14 released into the theaters with a rated R misprint. The only thing that was even remotely scary was the trailer, and it ruined the rest of the movie by the time it was rolling. This movie could be classified as a PG. Rated R. They got to have been on drugs when watching it to give it that rating or on acid. A sane person knows this was trash movie. James Wan needs to know it was trash or he will keep making more trash movies like this one.

  27. I just bought this movie on VUDU out of pure boredom. I wanted to see the movie from the first trailer I saw, but due to a extremely low rating from a certain movie critic I thought twice about if I should or shouldn’t make the purchase. No personal attacks allowed so goto google and search “is the conjuring worth buying” this d-bag’s review should be first result with a one star rating. Anyways I am really very happy with the decision I have made to go through with the purchase.
    This movie starts with a nice thriller/horror feel and maintains that “keeping you on the edge of your seat” feel for the majority of the movie. Once the investigation gets underway in the movie, events speed up and the movie loses its horror feel and becomes your regular thriller film and this should be expected, anything that happens in abundance is no longer unique. However losing its unique feel does the film justice because there is that sense that things need to move along and come to the climactic ending.
    This movie I felt was definitely worth the $15.00 for HDX version on VUDU. The ending gets a bit soft but the thriller element is enough to keep you involved. It is based on true events, however you need to know and should know by now that there will be hollywood effects and scenarios implanted into the picture. These “hollywood effects” are very noticeable in the end of the movie. I am a firm believer that “hollywood effects” sometimes hurt movies and this is one of them that could have done without them. Although I feel like they went overboard with the effects in his movie, the ending flows much better than the atrocity that is Insidious. Insidious was good but once the gas mask came out, I mean, what the hell were they thinking. The Conjuring comes nowhere close to that rediculousness and thank god for that.
    In finishing, in my opinion this movie starts strong with the creepy value, mellows out a bit, then ramps way up with the thriller feel till the end. I was watching this movie in pure darkness and alone and it legitimately creeped me out for a while which hasn’t happened to me since the first paranormal activity and sinister. The cojuring is definitely worth the buy.

    • I cannot decide if I should reply:

      “WTF?? RANDY just stole my answer!”


      “I was JUST about to say that!!”

      But either way, thanks for an awesome post. You win the internet Randy!!