Jun 21, 2021
Review: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The third instalment of the main franchise begins with Ed (Patrick Willson) and Lorraine (Vera Farminga) Warren documenting and participating in the exorcism of David Glatzel, an 8 year old boy in Brookfield, Connecticut.
We are even given the obligatory shot of the exorcist arriving at the home, an homage to 1973’s The Exorcist. The exorcism goes sideways, setting up the rest of the film. The movie follows the real life events fairly well, until it doesn’t. The deviation is necessary for dramatic effect but ends up reaching the heights of silliness.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farminga are excellent again as Ed and Lorraine. Still, for whatever reason, director Michael Chaves can’t get this instalment to live up to the previous movies. More on this later in the story doctoring section. It doesn’t help evoking memories of superior movies like The Exorcist either.
James Wan’s departure as director has left very big shoes to fill and I fear there are not many up to the task. The direction is still good here and the cinematography is framed nicely and gets the job done. Very little of the actual trial is shown, and who can blame the director? Court proceedings do not a fright house make.
For drama, and to increase the runtime, we get into cults and witches, and curses, and totems. This increases the mystery, but creates unnecessary complexity that bogs down the pacing.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, is not the worst of the Conjuring Universe films. It’s still a watchable distraction. Fans of the franchise can enjoy this one but will find little new here. Casual viewers shouldn’t expect the same level of scares and creepiness as the previous instalments. Let’s hope if we get a Conjuring Part 4 they find a case with enough story to fill two hours.
Fixing the screenplay would require putting the focus on the Arne Johnson character. It’s really his story, and I think enough scares and creepiness could have been milked from it, along with periods of court room drama. Ed and Lorraine would have had to take a backseat to the proceedings, though. We all know that wasn’t going to happen.
Three stars out of five.