Updated: Sep 21, 2021
In 2013 the horror genre was forever changed with the release of The Conjuring. The film by James Wan was a massive success as it received raving reviews and became one of the highest grossing horror films of all time. With such success it was not surprising that a continuation would be greenlit, and sure enough a sequel would soon be developed- along with an entire cinematic universe. The Conjuring 2 was released in 2016 and just like its predecessor the film was a success. Throughout the years many films have come to shape the Conjuring Universe, but it has been quite some time since the main series has creeped onto the big screen. However that has changed as appearing this summer isthe next chapter in the horror franchise-The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.
The film deals with Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) on another case which coincide with the trial of Arne Cheyenne which claimed that the murder was committed due to demonic possession. Unlike the first two films, the third entry is not helmed by James Wan, though he did produce the movie and helped with the story, but instead the new movie is directed by Michael Chaves. Chaves is known for his work on the 2019 horror film The Curse of La Llorona which is another film apart of the Conjuring Universe. Between the series’ linage and the events the film is based one, it was interesting to see what horror was in store for The Devil Made Me Do It. So, on a dark and stormy night I ventured to the theater to see this fright fest myself, and while it may not have been as strong as its predecessors, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It was still a thrilling experience.
The Warren cases have made for some chilling ghost stories, so this tale had much to live up to. The result was spooky story riddled with hits and misses. The plot had some investing concepts, and its direction was able to break away from the previous films. However, where this story falters was in its execution. The structure prevented aspects such as the trial itself from flourishing and the pacing was a bit quick to grasp the chilling nature behind the plot. The story culminates in a finale that, while not surprising, was still captivating in its tension. So although this plot may not have been the most compelling of cases, it was still a chilling mystery that was engaging from beginning to end which made good enough for its series' standards.
Ed and Lorraine have been enjoyable leads for the series, and it was good to see the Warrens were still in top form for this new movie. While the movie does not do much for Warrens’ progression, the performances from Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga kept both characters strong as both individuals and a couple. Along with the Warrens was the characterization of Arne Cheyenne (Ruairi O’Connor). As characters go Arne was an engaging suspect whose sense of humanity was understandable, but his decent into madness lacked development making difficult to grasp the character's inner conflict. Along with stellar principal characters, the movie also featured a solid supporting cast with the likes of Debbie Glatzel (Sarah Catherine Hook) and Father Kastner (John Noble) standing out in their roles. When it came the villain, the Satanist (Eugenie Bondurant) was a different kind of antagonist for series, although she lacked the presence of the series’ previous specters. The cast may have been minimal in both number and development, but it was still an effective ensemble that was more than fitting for any horror film.
When it came to horror, The Devil Made Me Do It was frightening experience; thought some scares were better than others. The movie featured an eerie atmosphere that was able create the right tension for the film. However, what hurt the horror was its use of jump scares. While the jump scares had the right buildup to be effective, the excessive use of this scare tactic was daunting, and it took away from the overall presentation. Thankfully, the technical aspects were beneficial in the horror’s delivery. The cinematography created a bleak look while the lighting set the right mood for each horrific setting. Also helping the horror was the music by Joseph Bishara. Though the music was not encompassing it did compliment the horror aspect and the array of compositions felt appropriate for its respected continuum.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a thrilling chapter to say the least. The mystery behind the case was a change of pace while the performances were worthy of any horror film. Yet this not to say that this entry is a perfect haunt. The execution of elements like storytelling and character development was lacking as it left little to the imagination. Fortunately, the horror was effective to keep things exciting-even it was excessive in aspects such as jump scares. While this chapter may not be a groundbreaking, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It manages to live up to its series name by being gripping horror film worthy of the genre itself.