The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)
Director: Michael Chaves
Screenplay: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (story: James Wan & David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick; based on characters created by Chad Hayes & Carey W. Hayes)
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook and John Noble.
Tagline: The Demonic Case That Shocked America
The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a change of pace in that the Warrens are working to save a man from death row by using the “he was possessed by the devil” defense. Talk about a Hail, Mary!
So, there’s a lot of courtroom action? No, just two brief scenes. But you have to understand this isn’t about that. It’s about finding out why the man was possessed and curing that. But, we know why he was possessed, he asked the devil to take him instead of the boy. Yes, but as we learn, he wasn’t possessed by the devil, he was cursed by a Satanist! But, the title is “The Devil Made Me Do It”? Yes, but it wasn’t through the Devil directly. But, the movie is scary and full of tension like the other “Conjuring” movies, right? Well… not really.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is all over the place. There are exorcisms, a cold case murder mystery, a story of young love, old love, a possession, a curse, a demonic/satanic controlled murder, there’s ESP, raising the dead, a hospital drama, and keeping a man off death row. For me, it was a bit too much.
I like the chemistry between Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. The nod to the original Exorcist when the priest arrives for the exorcism of the little boy is a nice touch. The set-up with the little boy and the waterbed was creepy. John Noble was a nice addition but needed more to do.
Nits to pick: It wasn’t as scary or filled with tense scenes as past Conjuring films. The lighting in every indoor scene was as if to remind us “this is a horror movie” and something scary could be in the shadows.
The set-up of Patrick Wilson’s heart problems were well done but then for the rest of the film the threat of a heart attack looms despite his constant running, straining to lift his wife as she goes over a cliff, etc. I didn’t think that the whole “Here’s Johnny” with a sledge hammer instead of an axe scene worked. We know he’s not whacking his wife with it.
I didn’t buy at all that a man in jail for murder and who is using the devil made me do it defense would be allowed out of a cell to mop floors in a semi-dark (spooky, huh?) room. That he would be come possessed, levitate off the floor, windows would be blown out and not a single cop or orderly shows up?
Overall, I found The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It to be an okay viewing experience. So it gets 2 of 5 stars.