Dog’s Movie House: “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” Satisfying Third Film In The Franchise!
“The Devil Made Me Do It” takes place in the summer of 1981 and begins with an exorcism performed on the youngest child of the Glatzel family, a precocious boy named David (Julian Hilliard). Under the possession of a powerful demon, David can’t get free of his captor until his sister’s boyfriend Arne (Ruairi O’Connor) takes the demon into himself. No one sees this except Ed, who unfortunately has a stress-induced heart attack during the exorcism and is unable to warn anyone of the danger. Later, the demon takes control of Arne and forces him to commit murder, leading to the first ever case of demonic possession as a legal defense. Of course, no one outside of the Warrens believe in demons and the occult, so it’s up to them to figure out what’s going on in the Glatzel house before Arne gets convicted and subsequently executed for the crime.
Now while not as scary as the first two Conjuring films, “The Devil Made Me Do It” takes the franchise out of the realm of the haunted house and deals with witchcraft and some very human villains as well as the usual ghostly suspects. It also benefits from some superb performances by Wilson and Farmiga whose chemistry is really good. It also helps that the cinematic Warrens are actually great people; righteous rather than self-righteous. (I have no idea what the real Warrens were like: some have called them legitimate while others have called them con artists.) It doesn’t really matter as the fictional couple makes for some compelling heroes. This case is more personal than in the other two films and the connection between Wilson and Farmiga helps sell that idea.
The script by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick is not top-tier in terms of scares but the humanity and the different directions in which this film goes makes up for it. Chaves does a workmanlike job, managing to craft a couple of decent scares (the waterbed sequence, the possession of David, and the finale come to mind). The ideas remain fresh even after three films because the real cases upon which these films are based provide rich cinematic storytelling material. Obviously these films are heavily fictionalized accounts of the true events upon which they are based but that makes the Conjuring films better, not worse, and “The Devil Made Me Do It” is no exception. A quality ghost story with heartfelt performances and the novel attempt to take the franchise in a new direction makes “The Devil Made Me Do It” a horror film worth your time. 4 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!