The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It lacks the organic and skillful direction of James Wan, but director Michael Chaves makes a solid streamlined sequel installment that captures the scares and progresses the characters of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Director Michael Chaves steps in for veteran horror director James Wan to takeover the reigns of the popular Conjuring franchise with The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as the supernatural investigators, The Warrens. The Devil Made Me Do It‘s mouthful of a title represents the film’s spinoff vibes, not quite feeling like a third installment as much as it does just another entry within the expanding Conjuring Universe. Consider this one a more condensed and straight-forward approach to the material, which makes for easy scares and a digestible plot, but also a predictable retread into familiar waters.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It follows Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren as they investigate a murder linked to a demonic possession that was passed from a young boy his sister’s boyfriend.
The film starts in the thick of it, with an exorcism gone wrong, that is followed by the rest of the story that interlaces brief flashbacks as The Warrens continue to look into what is causing this family so much harm and repeated visits from the other-worldly.
Almost immediately, The Devil Made Me Do It feels like a step down in visual artistry from the horror maestro James Wan, who is simply taking a screenplay credit this time around. There’s something about Wan’s patient and organic direction that feels refreshing in almost every horror movie that he does. His ability to free flow capture such scares with a blend of spatial awareness and filmmaking prowl is unmatched. The first two Conjuring films feel very much like James Wan constructions, which makes this third installment a bit of a mixed bag as director Michael Chaves does manage to recreate some of those steady flowing shots and he comes damn close to nailing Wan’s vibes, but there’s just something that feels missing.
I’m beginning to think that WB went with this overly-wordy title vs. The Conjuring 3 to represent a departure from the series and to sell this one as another installment in the universe instead of an actual Part 3, as this definitely feels like The Conjuring 2.5: The Side Stories.
And I don’t mean to discredit Michael Chaves in anyway, because he’s managed to make a damn fine horror film that pays homage to the exorcist films before it, while also furthering the story of The Warrens in typical Conjuring fashion.
Chaves manages to wrestle up a bag of scares that are visually engaging and they’ll make you jump — there might not be any new memorable creatures created this time around, aside from maybe that fat corpse in the morgue, but The Devil Made You Do It still capitalizes on the fact that it looks and feels like a horror movie given a healthy budget and some room to grow.
The film’s biggest strength is also its weakest link — a straight-forward plot that plays it by the book to a fault, concluding with an ending that is so telegraphed it almost feels like a wink and a nod to the audience — there’s nothing about The Devil Made Me Do It that is going to genuinely surprise you, from a script standpoint and that is truly bizarre and somewhat underwhelming.
But, there’s also a silver lining in the fact that WB has this one dropping on HBO Max the same date as theaters, which is becoming a big selling point of the streaming platform and a somewhat sad representation of the year in films.
I would hesitantly suggest this one for those looking to go out and see it on the big screen, because that is where you’re going to get the biggest bang for your buck in terms of effective scares, yet I would have no problem suggesting you to stay in and stream this one on a platform you already have.
Is that a weird changing of the tides to rate something on a curve when it comes to how we consume our media? I paid to see this on the big screen (and don’t regret it), yet I would be cautious to recommend this to family and friends without the disclaimer, yet at home, I would tell them to go nuts and enjoy it.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It suffers from a weak ending and James Wan‘s absence is felt, but knowing all of that, director Michael Chaves makes the best of the situation and delivers an exorcist flick that makes good use of its R-rating and ties to previous Conjuring Universe films. This is a passable film that is a bit more uneven than the previous two installments, but still has a few memorable moments that will surely please fans of the series.