- Directed by Michael Chaves
- May 26, 2021 (United Kingdom) / June 4, 2021 (United States)
Ed and Lorraine Warren investigate a murder that may be connected to a curse and a demonic possession.
I have enjoyed all The Conjuring films-this one included. The major issue with The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is that it is not as frightening as its two predecessors. The second film lacked some of the punch of the first and this lacks much of the punch of the second. It is much more of a procedural drama with supernatural elements than it is an actual horror film. That does not make it terrible but it certainly moves it away from being a frightening horror film.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return (of course) as Ed and Lorraine Warren respectively. Here Ed and Lorraine are more like supernatural cops conducting an investigation on how all these different things that are occurring or they are learning about connect rather than specifically fighting a demonic force. The demon is their focus but once they learn it is there because of a curse they are looking at who and why. Such a concept generally limits the ability to scare the audience. I am not sure how you make a procedural film frightening. There was some investigation previously but that was more to flesh out what they were up against rather than solving a mystery.
Not to issue a blatant spoiler but when I saw John Noble pop up on the screen as Father Kastner I knew he was connected to the badness going around in this film. It is John Noble after all. He is never the chipper guy in the sweater or the affable pal. He ain’t gonna be telling knock knock jokes.
Here he plays a retired priest living in what is more or less the middle of nowhere with his own personal collection of dark supernaturally touched objects similar to the collection of the Warrens. He comes into the case because of his involvement with the investigation of the Disciples of the Ram cult (Annabelle) from a few years prior and the Warrens go to him seeking answers on a totem found under a house that apparently caused a young boy to be possessed by a demon before that demon hopped to someone else and they committed murder. The Warrens you see are seeking some type of proof to help this man, Arne Cheyenne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor), who faces a long time in prison.
The film centers around a demonic curse that is believed to be a simple possession at first. Who is behind this curse and what their motives are forms part of the central mystery. Father Kastner has a secret and that is he had a secret daughter that he raised once her mother died who developed an interest in the occult because of her father’s investigation of it. One thing that bothers me about this film is why is Father Kastner’s daughter enacting the curse. What is her ultimate goal other than just chaos and pain? Or is that her ultimate goal? I am a little fuzzy on that. I may need to rewatch Annabelle to get those answers.
One thing the last two Conjuring films got right that this one also gets right is characterization. These are human beings involved in things beyond their understanding. They are not caricatures or individuals given to foolish decisions that put them in further danger.
And just as important as characterization, the actors playing the parts look like normal people. They do not cast the exceedingly beautiful or whatever. I am not calling anybody here ugly, but they are they are like people you can meet out in public and not people getting ready to go to their next modeling gig. That type of casting is a holdover from the 80s which it worked then but not so much now yet producers still do it. Back then it was an expected cliché of the genre that fans laughed at even if the film was shocking or frightening.
This is based on an actual case which was the first in the country to use demonic possession as a defense, but truth be told I am not sure how much of what really happened is presented in the film and how much of what is presented in the film was made up for dramatic purposes. I know Hollywood films take liberties with dramatic presentations of real events and I know there were tweaks to the stories for the first two films before they ever made it to the screen.
The script is good, and the acting is of a similar caliber of the other movies. As I said before though it is not as frightening. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a nice film and perhaps should be a stopping point for the Conjuring movies. The first two were good films and this one is not bad, but it lacks the frightening aspects of the previous two and for that reason I think this should be the last movie. Do not do another one that is a movie with horror elements. End on a high note.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a well-acted and well directed film. While not as frightening as the first two movies it definitely has a dark and foreboding atmosphere. If you are looking for a scare, I say skip it but if you enjoyed the first two films this will rank as an if you want. I strongly suggest you want but I will not say it is a watch it.