The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

conjuring the devil made me do it poster 2021 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some good ideas and story aspects

Locked in by history, so-so story

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Conjuring:  The Devil Made Me Do It

Studio: New Line Cinema

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): Movie Release Date

MPAA Rating: R

conjuring the devil made me do it shot exorcist homage

What a lovely day for an exorcism

When Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) attempt an exorcism on a young boy named David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard), things go poorly.  Ed suffers a major heart attack and the demonic spirit in David transfers to his sister’s boyfriend Arne Cheyenne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor).  Later when Arne is challenged by his landlord Bruno Sauls (Ronnie Gene Blevins) over Debbie Glatzel (Sarah Catherine Hook), he kills him…claiming that it was work of the demon inside of him.  Lorraine and Ed are about to be involved in a landmark case and must find evidence that Arne is innocent of the crime…and prove that the Devil made him do it.

conjuring the devil made me do it exorcism jullian hilliard

It isn’t fair…the demonically possessed always win at Twister

Directed by Miles Chaves, The Conjuring:  The Devil Made Me Do It is a horror thriller.  The third film in The Conjuring series following The Conjuring 2 in 2016, the film is the eight film in The Conjuring Universe following Annabelle Comes Home in 2019.  The film premiered in theaters and on HBO Max after originally being scheduled for release in September 2020.

The Conjuring series likes to play fast and loose with stories to make them compelling (which isn’t necessarily wrong), but it likes to wrap them in “this is a true story” which is both true and false.  The Conjuring:  The Devil Made Me Do It is based on the murder of Alan Bono by Arne Johnson in Brookfield, Connecticut on February 16, 1981.  While the exorcism, murder, and trial were real and tied into the whole Satanic Panic of the period, much of the movie is embellished for entertainment…which causes a bit of a problem.

conjuring the devil made me do it arne johnson possessed ruiari oconnor

Everyone needs a little hug!

The problem isn’t that it isn’t “historically accurate”, but the fact that for the most part, the film is trapped by the history.  There is no way out of the case except the results of the trial and making up a compelling story in which Lorraine and Ed search for clues isn’t necessarily the most fear fraught or inspired story of the series.  In some ways it just feels like a long episode of an investigative TV series with a supernatural flair…The Conjuring films have built a history with jumps and this movie is less jump based than the previous entries.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga have the characters down by this point.  Farmiga always has the meatier role and does the best job as the psychic Lorraine while Wilson’s spiritual backed Ed isn’t as compelling (this time he’s just fighting a weak heart the whole movie).  Ruairi O’Connor has “possessed guy” role and is rather typical in it.  Fringe veteran John Noble plays his priest character much like his other roles but I do like Eugenie Bondurant as the occultist masterminding everything.  She isn’t in the film much but she carries herself much like Damian’s protector Mrs. Baylock (Billie Whitelaw) in The Omen and I wish we had learned more about her character.

conjuring the devil made me do it vera farmiga vs eugenie bondurant

Could you tell me some more of your backstory before you kill me?

Visually the movie tries for jumps and scares, but it feels like old hat by now.  There are a couple demons who pop up through the movie and I admire the contortionist twisting of those who are possessed (which is always horrific).  There is a straight homage to The Exorcist in the beginning of the film with the exorcist arriving and starring at the house a la Father Merrin.

The Conjuring:  The Devil Made Me Do It is better than some of The Conjuring-verse movies, but not as good as the other two entries in The Conjuring.  The different approach to the film and the attempts to adhere to history weaken the horror story and instead of making it feel like “this could really happen”, it makes it pale in comparison to the horror.  The Conjuring-verse is slated to return with The Crooked Man.

Related Links:

The Conjuring (2013)

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Annabelle (2014)

Annabelle:  Creation (2017)

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

The Nun (2018)

The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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