The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It offers enough scares, but it makes up for its lack of depth with the Warren’s poignant love story.

The incantation: the devil made me do it concludes with archived real-life footage of Ed and Lorraine Warren being interviewed about the 1981 Arne Cheyenne Johnson murder trial, also known as the “The Devil Made Me Do It” case, and what it would mean for the legal system of USA if someone could claim demonic possession as self-defense. It’s a fascinating question worth examining, so it’s a shame the actual movie doesn’t have a real interest in doing it.

That does not mean The devil made me do it it fails to deliver the shakes and surface-level thrills audiences have come to expect from The Conjuring Universe films. Picking up in Connecticut in 1981, the film begins at Glatzel’s house after the family has called in everyone’s favorite married demonologists Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) to help their young son David. (WandaVisionJulian Hilliard), who has apparently suffered a case of demon possession. It’s a refreshing twist on the series’ formula; Rather than saving a big, swanky exorcism for climax, the latest entry in The spell The franchise jumps straight to that, with Ed screaming Bible verses as the demon inside David’s body turns him into a disgusting human pretzel.

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The Conjuring 3 Ruairi O'Connor

This time, however, things don’t go so well. A possessed David jumps on Ed in the middle of the exorcism and causes him to suffer a heart attack. Suddenly he’s back to normal when gentle Arne (Ruairi O’Connor), the boyfriend of David’s older sister Debbie (Sarah Catherine Hook), begs the demon to take him instead, but only within reach. Heard from Ed. Over the next few days, Arne, increasingly pale and sickly-looking, continues to have visions of a sinister figure, while Lorraine abides obediently by Ed’s side in the hospital, waiting for him to wake up. But when he does, it’s too late to warn them about what happened before Arne, stunned, confused, and covered in blood, finds himself under arrest for killing someone close to him.

most of The incantation: the devil made me do it focuses on Ed and Lorraine as they search for evidence to support Arne’s declaration of demonic possession in a court of law. In the process, they uncover a larger mystery involving a similar murder and satanic cults. Director Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona) and writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (The spell 2) To exchange The spell 1 Y twoThe haunted house motif for this investigative story, which then opens up the film to a wider color palette and a variety of settings, ranging from a brightly lit forest to the dark interiors of a morgue and Warren’s own home. in the evening. Director of Photography Michael Burgess, who also worked on The Curse of La Llorona Y Annabelle comes home, take advantage of this to create some clever visuals, especially in moments when the characters are being manipulated by the enigmatic Satan-worshiping occultist (Eugenie Bondurant).

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Yet by all the ways The devil made me do it revitalizes The Conjuring Universe tropes in terms of visuals and plot, doesn’t really bring any novel ideas to the table or even builds on themes from previous movies about the power of faith and the value of reason in a world where they exist the demons. His tributes to The Exorcist Y The glow feel equally shallow; The film never tackles questions about faith, nor does it tackle grounded human evils like the horror classics do, so the references don’t add depth to the narrative. And what is more, The devil made me do it looks like a degradation of The spell 1 Y two from a directing point of view, with Chaves doing a commendable job but struggling to match James Wan’s work on those films when it comes to creating unique and innovative sequences.

Conjuring 3 Occult

It’s Ed and Lorraine’s love story, along with Wilson and Farmiga’s on-screen chemistry, that keeps The devil made me do it afloat and makes up for its flaws like a horror movie. Devotion among the Warrens is tested in significant ways here. Due to his heart attack, Ed is facing physical limitations for the first time, forcing him to sit back and watch Lorraine plunge headfirst into the kinds of dangerous situations she would have handled in the past. This further raises the stakes whenever Lorraine has to use her clairvoyant abilities to uncover information, with no guarantee that Ed will be able to protect her the way he would have in better circumstances. Regardless of Arne’s fate, it’s the Burrows that keep you involved in the outcome of the movie.

This brings us back to the original point: despite the promise of its setup and the questions raised by the Johnson murder trial, The devil made me do it equates to a sufficient scare delivery machine that ranks somewhere in the middle on The Conjuring Universe’s quality scale. It is not as intense as The spell 1 Y two, not as much silly fun as Annabelle comes home or The nun. What it does have is a solid emotional core, proving that the on-screen Warrens are as interesting as ever, even if the franchise around them is starting to show its age.

Directed by Michael Chaves, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It stars Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, and Julian Hilliard. The film hits theaters and at HBO Max on June 4.

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