The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

I was all set to let CONJURING 3 be the first movie I went to see in an actual movie theater post-pandemic but then I saw it was on HBO. In a last minute decision, I instead decided to see A QUIET PLACE 2 in the theater and then watched CONJURING 3 on my computer with headphones on. This turned out to be the right decision for sure; AQP2 is the type of flick that works great with an audience (albeit a small one) and CONJURING 3 has an uncharacteristic television procedural vibe (even though it wisely stays clear of boring courtroom scenes). There’s much to love about this latest installment in the franchise but every bit of that love is probably thanks to the remarkable chemistry between Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren. The film, as a whole, comes off a bit meandering with what feels like almost an active aversion to scares beyond the typical.

I was very excited to learn that this series was to take on the famous “innocent by reason of possession” case that took place in Brookfield, Connecticut; a town that my family moved into a couple years after the incident (I wrote about this previously in a review for the TV movie  THE DEMON MURDER CASE (1983) which is based on the same incidents HERE). For the most part, this movie that was filmed in Georgia does an alright job of replicating the small town I know. The sad thing is that somewhere along the line, someone decided to scrape off some of the scariest parts of the tale and replace them with a rather mundane witch’s curse story. Replacing the horrific demon(s) described in the original story with a waterbed and a gaunt scolding librarian type doesn’t seem like the best of plans to me. Come to think of it though, director Michael Chaves did the same kind of careless bastardization of a legend that didn’t need fixing in his previous flick THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA (2019), another passable spook show generously lifted up by the superior acting of its central character(s).

Truth is I’d follow Wilson & Farmiga as the highly idealized, insanely romanticized and unquestionable glamorized versions of the mostly problematic ghostbusters Ed & Lorraine Warren anywhere. This outing that I wrongly assumed I’d feel particularly connected to is the least successful in the horror department but does add something worthy in the area of our understanding of these now beloved (by me at least) characters. It’s kind of hilarious to think of the real Lorraine Warren hanging off a cliff in Connecticut, Indiana Jones-style but avoiding anything resembling reality is exactly what I go to the movies for. CONJURING 3 is not on the level as the previous two films directed by James Wan but it’s still a bit better than most horror flicks that come down the pike. In this case though, instead of thanking the writer or director, you really have to thank the two impeccable leads. Sure, I was underwhelmed overall but how bad can a movie be when my first thought after seeing it is that I can’t wait to visit these characters again?

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SmallDarkCloud
SmallDarkCloud
6 days ago

I’m generally ambivalent about these Conjuring-verse films (Wilson and Farmiga’s performances aside), but I was surprised at how much I liked Annabelle Comes Home, of all films. Maybe I watched that one in just the right mindset to be won over.

Chuckles72
Chuckles72
5 days ago

I’m very much of two minds about this film series (haven’y seen this last one yet). I very appreciate Patrick Wilson as an actor that classes up a lot of genre flicks and I will watch anything with Vera Farmiga in it. But the angelic portrayal of the Warrens drives me nuts. I can easily overlook the glamourization of real people into beautiful people, but the phony sincerity of these frauds is a bitter pill. Why couldnt’ they just be some fictional ghostbusting couple in the 70s/80s?

And yeah, liked Annabelle Comes Home despite everything that bugs me about these movies.

BTW – you can find some vids of the Warrens’ basement of horrors, including Annabelle, on Youtube, They are pretty hilarious. You will see why they changed Annabelle’s appearance in the movies.

Luki8701
Luki8701
4 days ago

I enjoy all the Conjuring universe films, mainly because they (usually) are well crafted from the technical / acting / production design etc. standpoint. They might not be the most original productions, but James Wan and some of the other people involved are very good, smart directors who know how to shoot a scene properly.

I am a bit saddened that they went back to the “based on a true story” moniker they previously dropped for all the spinoffs (aside from the first Annabelle), but apparently it is a trick that still brings more people into theatres. Because it is the only thing I do not enjoy about these movies. I get why they do it, but it is silly.

As for Conjuring 3… it seems the movie has been retooled during the last year with entire scenes and characters dropped and music replaced. I did enjoy it very much, though I have some reservations with the overall pacing and editing… some scenes were so obviously shuffled and hastily re-edited it took me out of the movie. I would watch Farmiga and Wilson eat a cake for 2 hours so I might be a little biased.

Just drop the “true story” nonsense. No one in their right mind is going to believe this or anything else and it just brings the movies down. My mom enjoyed all the spinoffs, but could not get into any of the main Conjuring films purely because they try to sell these highly ridiculous events as true.

Chuckles72
Chuckles72
3 days ago

Luki8701,

I actually have no issue with using the “based on a true story” thing if it makes the movie scarier. I say, let them say “This is 100% true” if it makes things scary, even if it is total baloney.

Luki8701
Luki8701
3 days ago

uncle lancifer

I mean the movie is still good… but it does feel compromised and uneven. I loved the opening, I enjoyed the individual scenes, I really liked the different tone and the finale… but it did not come together as well as the previous ones. It feels too restrained and scattershot. I think they already had issues adapting the story itself and the screenwriters were not as assured as in previous movies… not to mention the fact that the best elements of the two previous films are the ones that were almost completely thought up by the filmmakers. It was Wan’s direction and editing and camera that made them as effective… even the long take at the beginning of this one does not make sense… in the previous movies the long take was used as a means to explore the house and show where everything was in relation to each other… since the movies were haunted house movies it made sense to explain the layout of them. In Conjuring 3 the long take is used to show the kennel which is seen for two more scenes and never used again…

Chuckles72

I may have turned a bit too cynical with age… I have no issues with using these for Texas Chainsaw or Strangers or other home invasion / slasher movies… but Conjuring movies are just downright abstract (Conjuring 2 has living people teleporting and phasing through walls etc.) and even basic google search of the “real” events will tell you how much has been changed and/or fabricated. I get what you mean that it might make things feel “scarier” for some, but for me personally they somehow lessen the experience and the craft behind them.