With any long-running franchise or series of films, they can easily fall victim to being overplayed, drawn out, and far-fetched when it comes to the ideas being thrown onto the screen with each installment.
When it comes to The Conjuring, which consists of its main stories featuring Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) and a handful of spin-offs like Annabelle and The Nun, we have seen moments when filmmakers have been grasping at straws to piece together a movie. The Nun, for example, is the weakest story of this film universe and ultimately does very little for the franchise other than to provide a tie in for its main antagonist.
However, the latest installment, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, which has released in theaters and is currently streaming on HBO Max, may just be one of the best in the franchise.
Ed and Lorraine Warren are partners in investigating the paranormal, working with the Catholic Church to prove incidents of hauntings and possessions, and finding ways to rid people and places of the evil that plagues them. In 1981, the Warrens were tasked with helping with the trial of Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor), who was claimed to have been possessed when he killed his landlord. This murder came after the Warrens were involved in an earlier possession and exorcism case involving a young boy named David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard) when Johnson compelled the demon to take him and leave David alone.
Consequently, the killing takes place and Johnson is the victim of a series of visions and possessions that are slowly driving him toward his own death. The reasons for this are unveiled throughout the course of the story, and The Devil Made Me Do It focuses on the investigation by the Warrens in finding out who or what is responsible for the haunting as Arne languishes.
The Devil Made Me Do It is a smart horror that doesn’t dwell for too long, and it doesn’t make its audience weary or apprehensive with the use of too many jump scares or cheap tricks. In fact, the parallel stories of the Warrens and Arne Johnson unfolding at the same time makes this an intriguing and exciting addition to the film series. And here, the villain is mostly unseen until more questions are answered, unlike the regular depictions and long-shots of the ghost in The Curse of La Llorona which deflated some of the mystery and excitement.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are crucial to these films and the way that they’re able to work off of each other in each scene contributes to what makes this particular installment so good. They’re truly believable as the Warrens in their portrayals and it would not be unwelcome to have more films with them starring.
Ruairi O’Connor, too, does an excellent job here and it’s all the more impressive considering his very limited filmography. One would hope that he’ll start to pop up in other projects so we can see more of his talents.
All in all, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, exceeds expectations and it is performing modestly well on its opening weekend with an expected $20-25 million in earnings. For its full effect, this is a movie to see and enjoy on the big screen with other people, even if you have the opportunity to watch it at home.