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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It - Movie Review

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

Satan is real and it just might take The Warrens to get you to accept it . . . especially in a court of law.

"relying on jump scares and body-twisting contortions in order to shock the viewer rather than building actual suspense"


The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is definitely NOT the best in the ongoing franchise, but it isn’t the worst either.  The positives in this horror flick, which concerns itself a demonic possession instead of a haunted house, remain the lead actors as Vera Farminga and Patrick Wilson continue to deliver the goods as everyone’s favorite paranormal investigative couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren.

But this film fails to deliver what we expect from The Conjuring series and that is truly a disappointing fact to digest.  While I am sure there will be another film in the series, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a messy third act that feels uncinematic and rushed, which is weird considering its delay due to Covid-19.

The problem is that The Devil Made Me Do It, directed by Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona) and written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (Red Riding Hood), plays upon the worst of the previous horror efforts in this universe of horror, relying on jump scares and body-twisting contortions in order to shock the viewer rather than building actual suspense.  It’s disheartening to admit as a fan, yet The Conjuring series will always rise to the top of all the spin-offs because of its key centerpiece: the chemistry between Farmiga and Wilson which this one has plenty of to balance out the weak plot points and execution.

This time, after a startling demonic possession and exorcism in a boy which leaves Ed with a bit of a heart problem, The Warrens are both a bit wounded and weary.  They are paranormally limping and cautious as a result of that opening exorcism (which is certainly the high water mark of this film) involving the 8-year-old David Glatzel’s demonic possession.  Except the demon is not gone.  It just jumped from one host to another and Ed, who wakes up in a hospital bed, knows it and he has to get a message through to Judy (Charlene Amoia) before it is too late . . .

. . . but it is already.The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

Enter The Warrens involvement with The Trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson.  Known as “the Devil made me do it” case, Arne (Ruairi O'Connor) is a witness in the Glatzel exorcism and invited the demon to take over his body in order to free David (Julian Hilliard).  That's in the opening, too. 

Except Arne doesn’t realize the demon is inside him and, rather randomly, starts seeing things involving The Occultist (Eugenie Bondurant) that cause him to leave work, question his own sanity, and murder his landlord.  Whoops!

What follows in the wake of Arne's possession is prison, a unique defense plea, a witch’s totem, and more of what we love about The Warrens . . . except it is all a bit less confident AND scarier than what came before.  Which, trust me, is an incredible disappointment considering the strength of this series.  With no haunting, we have to go with the route of possession and, if you are anything like me, satanic possession and curses involving a mean-spirited witch just don’t play well if they are not developed whether by script or by atmosphere and that’s where this one fails as we are left with way too many questions.

There are unexplored connections, lots of shrugging in the script, and - if it weren’t for John Noble (Fringe) as Father Kastner, a retired priest with firsthand knowledge of the demonic totem which plagues the Glatzels and The Warrens, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It would be all too easily forgotten thanks to its weak script, poor atmosphere, and an over reliance on ill-advised fade-outs, making this movie truly feel as if it were designed for a television broadcast complete with timed commercial breaks.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is hopefully NOT the nail in the coffin of this series, BUT it is certainly the most forgettable.  It is now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO MAX.

3/5 stars

Film Details

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

MPAA Rating: R for terror, violence and some disturbing images.
Runtime:
112 mins
Director
: Michael Chaves
Writer:
David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
Cast:
Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O'Connor
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
The Demonic Case That Shocked America.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I think I hurt someone."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site: https://www.theconjuringmovie.com/
Release Date:
June 4, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: The Warrens investigate a murder that may be linked to a demonic possession.

Art

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

 

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