The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It Review
Based on the first ever US case to use a not guilty defence by reason of demonic possession, The Conjuring’s third installment follows Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) once again in their fight against all things evil.
Opening the film, the audience is treated to some classic Conjuring scenes. A young, white family have moved into a creepy old house and things are not as they seem. Their youngest child, David (Julian Hilliard), is possessed by an evil force and is terrorizing their home. Ripping up the walls, stabbing the father, you know the story well by now. Ed, Lorraine, their camera man and a priest attempt to rid the boy of his demonic possession with little success. Only when David’s big sister’s boyfriend Airne (Ruairi O’Connor) pleads with the force to leave David and take him instead does the demon comply.
To the rest of the family this seems like a happy ending. David is free, everything is great, right? Wrong, Airne would soon start to have violent, intrusive thoughts and distorted senses of reality thus leading him to stab his landlord repeatedly in front of his girlfriend Debbie (Sarah Catherine Hook). The story then follows Ed and Lorraine’s struggle to free Airne of this possession and save him from the death penalty.
A surprisingly common theme throughout this film is that love can conquer all. The audience is given a lot more background to Ed and Lorraine’s love story, and the bond they have together which seemed unnecessary for a number of reasons. Horror audiences are known to be loyal, so it could be assumed that the audience of this film has seen the seven others in the franchise and are fairly aware of the strong relationship between this couple and how it strengthens their work.
Whereas the relationship between Debbie and Airne is hardly explored. We understand that Debbie never doubts Airne and fully supports him through his trial, time in prison and demonic possession, but not much more depth is given. You would think this would play a key role in the story but it really isn’t and leaves the audience lacking much compassion for the characters.
A lot of details that could have elevated the film and brought together mismatched storylines were left out, leaving the audience with more questions than answers. Somehow there was still little mystery to the main plot overall with key setups were left in plain sight. Even the jump scares seemed to have too much framing, taking away the shock factor that was really needed.
The acting of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine was the main saving grace of the film, continuing strong performances they have shown throughout the franchise. Ruairi O’Connor as Airne displayed great potential, even with the simplistic scripting he seemed to be given.
The nature of the story moves this film away from others in the franchise, not necessarily for the better. The scariest part is understanding the morality of guilt rather than the continuous threat of any ominous being. After 2 other Conjuring films and 5 spin offs the horror audience really deserves better.
The devil really wasn’t in the details of this film.