Sometimes human enemies can prove to be just as devious and evil as the demons and ghosts they fear. This general premise is what carries a majority of the plot for The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, the third installment in the central The Conjuring movie franchise, and the eighth installment in the movie’s universe overall. Following our overarching heroes, the paranormal investigative couple consisting of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the film is based on their – real-life – involvement in the infamous trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, the first United States court case in which the defendant claimed innocence of crime due to demonic possession.
The movie’s terrifying opening gives way to a story of curses, cults, and deals with demons, as Ed and Lorraine – still wonderfully portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga – must race to prove the existence of the supernatural to the U.S. Court system, after Arne brutally murders his landlord while under possession. The scares, though still shocking when exhibited, take on more of a background role as the plot focuses on the pair taking on a human antagonist for the first time in the series. This means that the franchise steps away from its “haunted house” horror elements, embracing more of a “supernatural murder mystery” identity instead – also, surprisingly, there’s a noticeable lack of court-related scenes for a storyline that involves proving demons exist in the legal system. So, though the film’s story is compelling, it’s noticeably not as horrifying as its predecessors.
In fact, the majority of this movie’s strength comes in the form of exploring the dynamic between Ed and Lorraine, as their bond becomes a crucial plot point near the film’s climax. The chemistry shown between Wilson and Farmiga shines more than ever in this entry, keeping us invested in the safety of our two protagonists with every twist and turn they stumble upon.
Despite being less intense than the installments before it, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It still delivers a handful of disturbing visual treats and an interesting story that’s sure to fuel more nightmares for days to come.
Rating: 3/5 Stars