the conjuring: the devil made me do it
director: Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona)
starring: vera farmiga, patrick wilson, sterling jerins and julian hilliard
REVIEWER: nick tonkin
The wife of a famous artist tries to contact his estranged family before his dementia worsens.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is the eighth instalment in the wider Conjuring Universe and the third in the core series following paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, roles once again reprised by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.
Wilson and Farmiga have been a key part in the success of the Conjuring series along with the talents of director/producer James Wan. Wan didn’t helm the direction of this instalment due to conflicts with other projects (presumably Aquaman 2) but instead contributed to the story and served as a producer. Instead The Conjuring 3 was directed by Michael Chaves, who made both his directorial and Conjuring Universe debut with 2019’s middling The Curse Of The Weeping Woman.
Chaves brings a real intensity and strength of atmosphere to a few key scenes in The Conjuring 3 - one in particular where a young man is starting to lose himself to the demon taking possession of his body. A cacophony of noise and diegetic music, combined with feverish camerawork and pretty effective hallucinatory sequences from the point of view of the young man make this a great segment of the film. This follows on from the similarly effective opening sequence of the film which introduces the film’s notion of possession and its tenuous link to the “true” story it is inspired by.
However the momentum of this excellent first act isn’t really maintained and we get a little bogged down with the Warren’s detective work, though this leads to the introduction of the excellent John Noble as Father Kastner, an expert in the occult who assists the Warren’s from his creepy basement. Unfortunately The Conjuring 3 doesn’t regain its footing after its change of pace in act two leading to a climax that wasn’t as impactful or exhilarating as the heights the film hit earlier in its runtime.
The Conjuring 3 kicks off with an impressive and creepy start, which unfortunately isn’t maintained throughout the film. Though it explores themes and ideas that are genuinely disturbing and unsettling to its credit, such as bone charms whittled by a satanist that serves to deprive people of their autonomy and self-control, the change of the tone and pace of the experiences in the film make it feel to an extent less cohesive and effective than it should have been, culminating in a bit of a disappointing overall result given its strength out of the gate.
While The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It kicks off with an impressive and creepy start, although entertaining, unfortunately the frenetic pace from the films opening isn’t maintained throughout the film.