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Movie Review – The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

Horror movie fans have been waiting for this one – does it live up to expectations?

Part 3 of The Conjuring’s horrifying series has hit the big screen – here’s what we thought of it.

The Conjuring universe is back for another round. After a spate of hit and miss spin-offs will a reunion with the Warrens again keep us up at night? (Answer: Yes) You might need to leave the lights on at night after this one.

Watch the trailer: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” reveals a chilling story of terror, murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. One of the most sensational cases from their files, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they’d ever seen before- to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defence.

I’ll admit horror films aren’t typically my jam. It’s rare one ever really grabs me and even rarer for one to truly scare or unsettle me. The first two entries in the Conjuring series most definitely struck those chords. Director James Wan delivered such tension, dread and unease combined with a brilliant sense of kinetic energy and movement that it elevated above your stock standard haunted house schlock.

Not having time in his busy Aquaman schedule Wan has handed the reigns to Michael Chaves, fresh from so-so spin off The Curse of La Llorona. Chaves fairs better this time around but just doesn’t quite recapture the magic. What we get is a mid-tier Conjuring film. We don’t hit the heights of the originals or the underrated Annabelle Creation but we don’t sink to the dreck of The Nun or Annabelle Comes Home.

The Devil Made Me Do It just feels like a missed opportunity. There was potential to do something different with the story beats. We have more of a procedural foundation with the chance of a courtroom climax… kind of like a spooky Law and Order. For a film whose whole hook and title is the famous “Devil Made Me Do it” defence we spend so very little time in the courtroom. Seeing the defence play out and the Warrens as expert testimony in front of a very sceptical jury just sounds so very intriguing. Even their convincing of the lawyer to take the possession defence is so very brief and played for a cheap laugh. Just strikes me as odd.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga put in their usual strong performance as the Warrrens. Farmiga takes the lead in this one with a lot more to do and her powers as a spiritual medium are the main driving point of the story and bring most of the scares.

The scary scenes are far more standard horror fare this time around which goes to show how the same concept delivered by a seasoned exceptional director in Wan in the first films compares to an up and comer like Chaves. Jump scares are high on the menu and it feels a tad predictable. You’ll have the odd jump and nervous giggle but you’ll see them coming a mile off as the scene comes together.

That being said, it’s an enjoyable enough horror movie. I guess going in I wanted exceptional and ended up with competent. I wanted Conjuring 1/2 or Hereditary. I wanted dread, unease and a knot in my stomach. Instead I got solid if unremarkable.

It’s a fun time with a few jumps and fans of the series will love the chance to spend some more time with The Warrens. It’s another episode of a show you love, it’s comforting horror junk food for fans.

Rating: 3 Stars

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