The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) Is a Devilishly Good Time
Title: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
First Wide Release: May 26, 2021 (Theatrical Release)
Director: Michael Chaves
Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, James Wan, Chad Hayes, Carey W. Hayes
Runtime: 112 Minutes
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor) helped save his girlfriend’s little brother from a terrible demonic possession only for the parasitic entity to take over him instead. Not long after, he murders his boss in a fit of supernaturally induced rage and is locked up shortly afterwards. Convinced of his innocence, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren are determined to find a paranormal connection to the case to save Arne from getting the death penalty. On their journey to exonerate him they find themselves engulfed in a terrifying mystery that pushes them past their paranormal comfort zone.
A worthy sequel in the ever-growing franchise, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a well-paced supernatural mystery with plenty of thrills and frights.
After some time away, the Warrens are back. And the supernatural is more terrifying than ever. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their roles as America’s favorite demonic protectors. As always, they do a phenomenal job bringing to life the strength and courage of fierce warriors while balancing the tenderness and love that makes them human. Clearly, this is a far departure from the real couple but that is not the point here. In this universe, the Warrens engender sympathy and compassion because they embody what we view as good and moralistic. Which is why the latest victim, Arne, fits so well here. In an act of selflessness, and a lack of foresight, he finds himself at the mercy of a powerful presence. This causes him to do something terrible but despite that the audience knows him to be a kind and good soul.
This is how The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It dives into the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. Characters openly mock perceived notions of Satanism and are fearful of the possibility of God’s absence from their life. While some of this can get prickly at times, it is very true to the times. The idea that love can conquer all, which is common in this franchise, is employed yet again. I know that I will personally never tire of this trope, when it is done right, but I am sure that others might not feel the same. Regardless, it never veers off track into goofy terrirtory and is still played with a serious tone.
Where The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It shines is its scares. With high expectations, this film manages to hold its own against the behemoths of the first two Conjuring films as well as Annabelle: Creation and Annabelle Comes Home. There are plenty of memorable sequences peppered in throughout the film. Lorraine’s walk in the woods, the investigation into the funeral home, and the final confrontation are among the freshest and most exciting.
There’s a level of quality to films in the main iteration of The Conjuring Universe that make them a bit harder to criticize. Between crisp, and oftentimes stunning, visuals, impeccable special effects work, and memorable visuals, the technical aspects of the films are tight, and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is no exception. The biggest criticism I can give the third entry in the Warren saga is that it doesn’t pack the emotional punch that the first and second do. There’s plenty riding on Arne’s acquittal and Ed and Lorraine’s relationship is as sugary sweet as ever, but there’s a lack of intensity here that is not present in the previous two installments.
While it doesn’t quite reach the heights that the previous Conjuring films do, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a solid entry in the shared universe. There are enough moments of terror and tension to soften the blow from loose ends never tying parts of the plot together in the end. Wilson and Farmiga are as affable and inspiring as ever, but the emotional center of this entry is less stated than in previous entries which is a letdown. Fun set pieces and chase scenes, engaging characters, and a consistently sharp throwback aesthetic make The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It an enjoyable and well-made film that will leave you possessed in the end.
Overall Score? 7.5/10