Both of The Conjuring movies are scary. Horror is subjective and your mileage may vary, but I think it’s safe to say at this point that James Wan has established himself as a master of his craft. He’s able to create a sense of dread and carry it through a film, constantly ratcheting up the tension without resorting to cheap, unearned jump scares that instantly deflate it. It’s an almost humorous when you say it out loud, but it’s the reason that both of these sexless, largely bloodless films have been slapped with R ratings; the folks at the MPAA just thought they were too darn scary.
But when you talk to James Wan, the scares are not what he’s focused on. He’s passionate about them (and when you meet the guy, it’s hard not to get swept up in his infectious enthusiasm), but to him, that’s not the heart of what these movies are about. To him, these are love stories, stories about families helping one another and trying to make each other’s lives better. It’s what sets The Conjuring films apart in the landscape of modern horror: you care about these people so much that you want to come back for more of their story instead of the monsters’.