Every time we're going to watch a genre film we're not only watching a single movie. In a certain way we are watching hundreds of other movies that follow the same rules, try to cause the same effects and eventually end up in the same folder on the Netflix page.
Some movies like the Wes Craven's Scream saga made this pretty obvious, exposing the rules they need to follow. James Wan's The Conjuring is different, instead of exposing its mechanism, The Conjuring seems to feed itself of some of its predecessors to create something that looks new precisely because it doesn't try to be new.
The Conjuring doll is a mix of Chucky and Talky Tina, the murderous doll in the 1963 Twilight Zone episode "Living Doll"
You can see reference to the Twilight Zone, Paranormal Activity, The Amityville Horror, The Birds, The Exorcist ans Saw (by James Wan too) just to name some, but The Conjuring is not another postmodern exercise of references and self reference. The movie uses our own archive to take us back to a place that result familiar and scary at the same time. Beside that we have really interesting camera movements and shots, really scary scenes and, of course, the clapping game, something that is now in the history on the genre.
I really like movies like Scream or The Cabin in the Woods but It's good to see a horror film that take itself seriously once in awhile.
Directed by James Wan