Friends, I have just finished watching The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, not in the theater this time but at work through the HBO Max streaming service. I have been in love with the horror cinematic universe started with 2013’s The Conjuring, which has managed to produced spin-off series such as Annabelle, The Nun, The Curse of La Llorona, with more films reportedly on the way. While I obviously would have enjoyed the opportunity to catch this eighth entry in the Conjuring cinematic universe at the local movie theater, my weekend job just doesn’t make that possible, so huddling in the back office I was able to catch the third Conjuring film with one of my best friends. Which I have to admit I was glad I didn’t have to watch it by myself – because the tension and scares in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It are raised to an entirely new level. As always in my non-spoiler reviews, I will be focusing on what you see in the trailers, but I will go ahead and tell you that the filmmakers and the cast really knock it out of the park with this one.
Both The Conjuring as well as The Conjuring 2 were directed by James Wan (Saw, Aquaman), with the original film being co-written by twin brothers Chad and Carey W. Hayes (House of Wax), based on a treatment by Tony DeRosa-Grund. The treatment was written by De-Rosa-Grund after he was inspired to get a film project in development, thanks to having an audio tape played from the Perron Family case by the real life Ed Warren. With The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, due to scheduling conflicts Wan handed over the directing reins to Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona), although he provided the story idea that was turned into a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (The Walking Dead). The third film in The Conjuring series is also based on a real life event, this time focusing on the Connecticut trial held in 1981, where Arne Cheyenne Johnson made history by being the first person in a United States court case to claim that he killed someone while under demonic possession.
Just as I mentioned in the recent review for A Quiet Place Part 2, the latest Conjuring film has an incredibly tense opening sequence. We find Ed and Lorraine Warren, exceptionally portrayed once again by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, with the aid of the Glatzel Family and a priest attempting to perform an exorcism on 8-year-old David Glaztel (Julian Hilliard). It appears that they are successful, although it comes at a personal cost to both the Warrens and Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Conno), who is the boyfriend of Debbie Glaztel (Sarah Catherine Hook).
A few days after the exorcism, Arne is possibly experiencing hallucinations and begins to behave oddly… resulting in the murder of a landlord. The Warrens are contacted and attempt to aid Arne after his arrest, pledging to investigate what they believe might have been a possession, which leads them to the horrifying realization this is not random… the Glaztels were targeted… cursed.
The previous two films in the Conjuring series have focused on both hauntings and possession, the third film however presents something entirely new by adding a human antagonist along with the demonic entity introduced at the beginning of the movie. This naturally ramps up the tension as both the Warrens and others begin to unravel a very dark plot that is affecting a handful of families – it becomes a race against time to try and uncover who is behind all of this pain and death.
Of course the reason that the Conjuring films are just so good are the performances delivered by Farmiga and Wilson, they have an amazing chemistry together and the screenwriters have ground the supernatural elements by focusing on how much the two characters love each other. It is the characters devotion to each other, mirroring the real life relationship of the Warrens as I understand it, that are the anchor of these three films. But you can be assured that the rest of the cast in this latest film deliver strong performances too, in particular though the spotlight should be shined on the performance by John Noble (Fringe), who portrays a character who has seen the power of evil in his younger days as a priest.
In closing out this article, if The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It ends up being the last film in the series, it is a proper way to see off the characters of Ed and Lorraine. I do hope however that we will be seeing more Conjuring movies in the coming years. So, if you are looking for an entertaining film chock-full of chills and thrills with likeable and memorable characters, why not check out The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It in theaters or on HBO Max today?