The third film in The Conjuring series, The Devil Made Me Do It, is available now on 4K from Warner Brothers, and once again plunges into the lives of Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, who give a real sense of humanity and emotional investment in their roles.
This time, it’s 1981, and they get pulled into a possession case that led to the first time in United States history when the claim of demonic possession was used in a murder trial. Now, there has been a lot of waffling on both sides of the belief coin on whether the Warrens were hoaxers or actually dealing with paranormal and supernatural entities. No matter the real world circumstances, their case histories are rife with stories that would make great horror films, hence the success of The Conjuring series, and it’s spinoff films, creating what is known now as The Conjuring-Verse.
When, during an exorcism, a young man, Arne (Ruairi O’Connor), becomes host to a demonic being, Ed and Lorraine discover that the initial exorcism is just the tip of the iceberg, as a murder brings Arne into the national spotlight, and his claim of the devil made him do it created sensationalist headlines.
What the pair discover is an Occultist (Eugenie Bondurant) casting curses using crafted tokens simply to cause anarchy and chaos, and now she knows the Warrens!
There’s a good story here, and Wilson and Farmiga have shown that they have great chemisty and a solid take on the characters, but this one feels like a fumble. James Wan, who directed the previous two entries in the main series, steps away from the big chair for this one, letting Micheal Chaves take the reins.
Chaves has had experience in the Conjuring-Verse, having directed the less than stellar entry, The Curse of La Llorona. Wan knows how to ratchet up the tension to his scares, how to work the characters and the audience almost into a nervous frenzy before delivering the fright. Chaves style wants to partially emulate that while telling the film in his own way, and it stumbles because of it.
It lacks the gut punch of the previous two Conjuring films, and the characters suffer for it, which is too bad, because there’s a fascinating story here.
That being said, the picture and sound are fantastic, and as always with these films, I delight in the extras, because I love learning the behind the scenes stories. Not just how the film was created, but the events which inspired it, and Warner serves up a solid group of extras for that very purpose.
This time out, there’s a video comic that takes into the Conjuring-Verse, a look at the exorcism that opens the film including how it was captured, a look at the character of the Occultist, who isn’t quite as unnerving as The Nun, but she’s very spooky!, and a look at the story behind the story – which I really dug.
That’s one of the things I really like about The Conjuring films, during the credits, it gives real world images and recordings from the cases that inspired the films – that’s just cool, and it’s a bit of an extra scare, making you wonder if it could haappen to you!
And if you’re like me, it also inspires the reader in you to dig into the story and find more of the same.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It continues building the Conjuring-Verse (get James Wan back for 4, please!) and is available now from Warner Brothers!