The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The third mainline entry in the Conjuring universe provides a welcome change of pace in a franchise that’s been suffering from horror fatigue for some time now. Loosely based on the real-life case of Arne Cheyenne Johnson (portrayed by Ruairi O’Connor), who claimed to have murdered someone while under demonic possession, The Devil Made Me Do It shifts the focus away from the haunted houses of the previous instalments to an investigative mystery. Unfortunately, though, director Michael Cheves (The Curse of La Llorona) isn’t quite able to balance the new genre elements with the nerve-shredding tension that the series is known for. The result is an entertaining but massively flawed horror blockbuster.
The main draw of the previous Conjuring films has always been the connection between demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, and this holds true in the latest outing. Co-stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga once again delight with their charming chemistry. The love that they share keeps the supernatural events grounded in something tangible, even as the script grows increasingly outlandish towards the second half. The Warrens are the beating heart of this franchise, with it being just as much their story as it is about their individual cases.
When it comes to the actual scares, The Devil Made Me Do It comes up short compared to its superior predecessors, when James Wan was behind the camera. While there is a spattering of stylish and effective set pieces throughout (a climactic encounter in underground tunnels being a strong contender), many of the spooky happenings are the standard affair of jump scares and demon faces. It’s all predictable and derivative: the camera slowly pans back to reveal something that wasn’t there before, or a sinister face appears behind someone. Though it’s nowhere near as catastrophic as some of the other series entries, the absence of Wan’s creative spark is felt here.
The Devil Made Me Do It doesn’t break new ground like The Conjuring did in 2013, nor is it especially frightening. What it is, though, is a refreshing change of scenery and an enjoyable investigative mystery. And that’s perfectly fine for a horror blockbuster.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is released nationwide on 28th May 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It here: