The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It expands the successful horror movie universe, and although it is better than the two most recent entries, it is still disappointing and lacking.
Set in the early 1980s, paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) take on one of the most shocking cases that they have ever been confronted by. After a cop finds a dismayed man (Ruairi O’Connor) covered in blood walking down the road, he is convicted of manslaughter. However, the suspect claims that the cause of his actions was demonic possession. The Warrens must now investigate the supernatural once again before it is too late.
When The Conjuring was first released back in 2013, many people did not expect it to be one of the highest-grossing horror franchises of all time. It had an exciting start, but as the films continued to roll out, they got worse. There have been several spin-offs, including the Annabelle (2014-) series and The Nun (2018), but they lacked charisma, tension, and scares. Although this film is better than the franchise spin-offs, it still feels like much is missing from it to reach its full potential.
For The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, regular director James Wan has stepped aside for Michael Chaves to take the helm, which is noticeable; it does not have the same aesthetic that Wan gives to his films. He knows how to manage horror movies well, even though some of his movies misfire. Chaves directed one of the worst films of the franchise, The Curse of La Llorona (2019), and some of the stylistic and narrative choices that hurt that film make their way onto this one.
However, not every choice he makes in this film is bad; there are some bright spots in the shallowest moments. The film’s introduction was put together nicely with some demonic body distortions, the transitions from day to night looked good, and some first person-shots fit the horrors depicted in the film.
Possession stories have been repeated time and again but are engaging if done correctly like the previously mentioned The Exorcist or Zulawski’s Possession (1981). Both films have creative ways to depict horror, whereas this film lacks scares and frights. It is frustrating to see a horror film failing to deliver shocks. The frights felt uninspired, poorly executed, and did not have any impact after the film’s big start.
Ultimately, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It does not bring anything new to the Conjuring universe. It has a strong start, and Wilson and Farmiga’s performances are good, but the rest of the film is not scary, interesting, or engaging. It is generic and doesn’t branch out to do anything special or out-of-the-box to make this film appealing to horror fans. Wilson and Farmiga do their best to uplift this film with their great chemistry, but the script, dull-looking cinematography, and lack of pulsing thrills make it forgettable and quite boring.
Lorraine Warren, played by Vera Farmiga in the The Conjuring movies died a natural death aged 92, on April 18 2019. She’s been a head consultant on all of The Conjuring projects, and an avid follower of the series.