The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It adds some new scares to the franchise, yet this latest chapter to the horror series feels a bit weary and tiresome from the previous Conjuring films.
The Conjuring franchise has now made three linked Conjuring movies and five spin-off movies (Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, The Nun, The Curse of La Llorona, and Annabelle Comes Home). The Conjuring Trilogy has followed our main paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by a terrific Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. While the spin-off films have followed different aspects of The Conjuring universe, like the creepy Annabelle doll or the "Demon Nun." These spin-off films have felt more like a roller coaster — some stories were good, some stories were pretty bad. The first two Conjuring films (2013 and 2016) remain superior to this expanding horror franchise — giving us old-school scares and engrossing stories of different hauntings and supernatural activity.
Director James Wan (Saw, Furious 7, and Aquaman) crafted the two vastly frightening pictures from The Conjuring's chapters one and two. These two horror features gave off bone-chilling vibes that make you want to sleep with a night light on afterward. So, with chapter three coming in and changing up the formula, we essentially get a weaker horror film. The Devil Made Me Do It decides to go a different route and focus on a legal trial where a defendant (Ruairi O'Connor), who's accused of murder, claims to have been possessed by the devil himself (demonic possession). So, it's time for the Warrens to step in and investigate. The third chapter also adds in a new director, Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona), but keeps Wilson and Farmiga. As usual, Wilson and Farmiga's acting chops are strong as ever, but we are missing the noble craftsmanship from Wan.
Stripped away are the original spooks and scares — instead — Chaves tries to add more crime thrilling elements. The Devil Made Me Do It also borrows heavily from far superior horror movies, like The Exorcist (1973) and The Shining (1980). However, I will give the film's opening scene some major props, giving us an incredibly frightening and terrifying exorcism sequence. Unfortunately, as far as the story goes, the rest of the movie begins to peter off after that. The Conjuring franchise does not look like it's slowing down anytime soon. If Wilson and Farmiga continue to return, then I will, of course, continue to watch. Here's to hoping the next chapter with the Warrens goes back to the franchise's original horror roots and haunting atmosphere.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is rated R (Restricted) Terror | Some Disturbing Images | Violence.
Directed by Michael Chaves
Starring Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O'Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, and John Noble.
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