Film Review – The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (M)

Director: Michael Chaves

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ruairi O’Connor

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

Cinema’s favourite couple of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren are back to battle more spooky spectres with some true facts laying the groundwork for some fantastical storytelling.

In 1981, when young man Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor) from small town Brookfield, Connecticut murders his landlord, his case becomes the first American murder trial to claim demonic possession as a defense.

The Warrens are brought on board to help prove his claim and begin investigating a link between Arne’s situation and a couple of other similar cases – a satanic curse.

Director Michael Chaves, whose initiation into the Conjuring universe was spin-off The Curse Of LA Llorona (2019), mounts some genuinely nail-biting sequences that are heavy on the suspense and dread rather than jolting sound effects – the funeral home scene is a definite highlight.

However, reliance on the charm of the main characters and the actors that play them is starting to run low on steam, and the connections to real life events seem increasingly weak.

By the time a possessed character starts levitating and windows blow out in front of prison staff, this has well and truly lost touch with reality.

Early on, this third Conjuring installment hints that it may take a different narrative approach, one more along the lines of the fascinating genre mash-up exorcism/court room drama The Exorcism Of Emily Rose, alas, it ditches the court room in favour of the more traditional investigating/mystery solving. But ultimately, once solved, it doesn’t leave much of an impact.

It may be time for the Warrens’ story to be locked up in a basement for some respite much like their collection of possessed dolls and various items before the fear factor is truly diminished.

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