Since The Conjuring haunted theatres in 2013, its shared universe of sequels and spin-offs has carved out a lucrative box office franchise. While Annabelle: Creation and Annabelle Comes Homes nearly approached the main movies’ quality, the spin-offs have been mixed. Neither The Nun nor The Curse of La Llorona impressed critics or audiences. But The Conjuring movies themselves have delivered consistent levels of quality. In fact, both movies were so scary that they produced enough horrific demons – Bathsheba, Valak, Annabelle, The Crooked Man – to justify a shared universe. After its COVID delay, The Conjuring The Devil Made Me Do It finally gets its long-awaited release. Based on the first U.S. court case where an accused argued demonic possession, reviews have more mixed than expected.
During the exorcism of 8-year-old David Glatzel, Ed Warren suffers a near fatal heart attack. And the demon slips from David to Arne Johnson, the boyfriend of David’s older sister. But before Lorraine Warren can warn him, the demon takes hold of Arne, pushing him to brutally murder his landlord. Awaiting trial, the Warrens urge Arne’s lawyer to argue that the murder occurred under the influence of demonic possession. As the clock ticks, Ed and Lorraine Warren race to discover and end the source of Arne’s curse.
The Conjuring The Devil Made Me Do It Misses James Wan’s Steady Hand
For its first 15 minutes, The Conjuring The Devil Made Me Do It dares to be as great as its predecessors. Its opening exorcism is relentlessly scary. Director Michael Chaves combines lighting, sound, and frenetic editing to instantly put you on the edge of our seat. And a gorgeously framed homage to The Exorcist promises good things. But Chaves and writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick opt to take The Conjuring on a road trip for the rest of the movie. As a result, the sequels loses some of the series’ claustrophobic atmosphere. Though the idea of occultists initially intrigues, the concept inevitably falls somewhat flat. Some of the logic feels more convoluted this time around. Moreover, for the first time in the series, The Conjuring The Devil Made Me Do It lacks a compelling demon. Instead, Chaves and Johnson-McGoldrick give us an anonymous monster and fairly scary human antagonist.
Moreover, for the first time in the series, The Conjuring The Devil Made Me Do It lacks a compelling demon.
Moreover, The Conjuring The Devil Made Me Do It often feels overproduced. On one hand, this is a slick, well-paced, and beautifully shot horror movie. Yet it often overburdens its scares with excessive sound and crammed visuals. While James Wan showed a gift for meticulously building suspense, Chaves prefers to hammer audiences over the head. Of course, this isn’t to say the latest chapter lacks enough jolts for fans. There’s plenty of creepy imagery and aggressive jolts. Oftentimes, however, the scares feel familiar. Nothing in The Devil Made Me Do It feels as fresh as what the series has previously put on the screen. Still Chaves assembles a rousing and emotionally satisfying finale.
The Devil Made Me Do It Delivers a Welcome Reunion of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson
Arguably, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson’s performances as Lorraine and Ed Warren, respectively, have been the key ingredient to the franchise’s continued success. It’s their performances – and the relationship between the characters – that has set The Conjuring movies apart from the other movies in their shared universe. Both Farmiga and Wilson are top-tier actors and there’s an effortless chemistry between them. You believe they are a married couple. Most importantly, you completely invest in their relationship, which makes even some of the sequel’s more underwhelming scares compelling.
Both Farmiga and Wilson are top-tier characters and there’s an effortless chemistry between them.
As an additional bonus, Johnson-McGoldrick’s screenplay understanding the importance of genuine human drama. Both The Conjuring and The Conjuring Part 2 put families worth caring about at the center of their supernatural horror. Here, The Devil Made Me Do It parallels Lorraine and Ed’s loving marriage with its young couple, Arne and Debbie. As young lovers caught up in horrors beyond their control, Ruairi O’Connor and Sarah Catherine Hook share a chemistry almost on par with Farmiga and Wilson. They elicit a level of sympathy necessary to make the movie’s story compelling even when it’s not always as scary as its predecessors. If The Devil Made Do It falls a little short in some areas, it’s not lacking in human drama.
The Conjuring The Devil Made Me Do It a Lesser But Satisfying Final Chapter
Though the reviews have been a bit more lukewarm this time around, The Devil Made Me Do It still makes for an entertaining horror movie. Nothing approaches that intense opening segment over the remaining 90 minutes. And Chaves doesn’t match the same inventiveness or patience of James Wan. Indeed, Wan’s absence is keenly felt in the sequel. But slick production values, enough fun scares, and compelling performances across the board should satisfy fans of the series. If The Conjuring franchise ends here, The Devil Made Me Do It delivers a mostly satisfying final chapter.
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