‘The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It’ Movie Review — True Crime or American Horror Story?
Each Conjuring movie sees Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) investigate a different paranormal case. That allows each sequel to tackle a slightly different subgenre of paranormal horror, although there’s always something evil conjured up. The Devil Made Me To It takes The Conjuring in a bold new direction.
What is the plot of ‘The Conjuring 3’?
In 1981, the Warrens helped a priest perform an exorcism on eight-year-old David Glatzel (Julian Hillard). At the conclusion, Debbie Glatzel (Sarah Catherine Hook)’s boyfriend, Arne (Ruairi O’Connor) offers the demon his body instead. That seems to end things, but this is the beginning of The Conjuring 3 so don’t count on it.
Still plagued by demonic visions, Arne kills the landlord (Ronnie Gene Blevins) of the boarding house where Debbie works and they both live. The Warrens return to convince Arne’s attorney to plead not guilty by reason of demonic possession. They then set out to prove their theory that Arne was possessed.
Unfortunately, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is not a Conjuring courtroom drama. That would have been fun, seeing the Warrens make their paranormal clout hold up in court. Still, call this the discovery phase of the trial.
The Warrens research the demons and artifacts they find in the Glatzel home. They’re looking for a satanist who’s cursed the Glatzel family. It’s an intriguing whodunnit, but the clues are scary because Lorraine gets them when she communes with the spirits, plus every time they cut to Arne who’s still plagued by them.
The most interesting part is when the Warrens help another officer with his case in return for information that will help theirs. The Conjuring movies believe the Warrens were absolutely experts at solving occult crimes and defeating evil. The real life Warrens still dealt with skeptics, but it’s fun to see a movie where they get to use their supernatural powers in real world settings.
A ‘Conjuring’ style exorcism
Every exorcism movie since The Exorcist stands in it shadow, including its own sequels. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It owns that the moment a priest shows up at the Glatzel house. They use what must be modern digital effects to twist bodies in demonic ways, although you never know. We’ve been surprised by real contortionists in exorcism movies before.
Director Michael Chaves captures the disorienting nature of Arne’s visions. It’s consistent with the Conjuring universe in that there is a lot of dark space on the screen and scary things jump out. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However in past Conjuring movies and spinoffs, the monsters found scary dark corners of the protagonists’ houses. The Devil Made Me Do It captures the terrifying feeling of your own perception of reality betraying you.
The power of love vs. The Devil
This demon fights back and isn’t confined to the clients’ house. She may be the most formidable spirit the Warrens have faced yet, but it also gives the whole family a chance to help fend her off. That’s even more consistent with The Conjuring than the horror. The series is about the love of a family, and the families they help. It may be a bit heavier handed in The Devil Made Me Do It than previous entries, but it doesn’t veer into schmaltz yet.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It still doesn’t show the trial so we don’t know how the Warrens convinced the judge or jury that possession was real. Perhaps the assumption is the events we witnessed had to be as convincing to the court as it was to the viewer. Either way, The Devil Made Me Do It tells a scary, devilish Conjuring tale along the way.