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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

Th3 Conjuring

Ed and Lorraine are dealing with the demonic possession of a young boy named David. They fight with tooth and nail to get the demon out and succeed, but their troubles only worsen once it takes over Arne's body instead...

The biggest problem with the movie starts in the very opening scene. The openings for the first two Conjurings are really creepy and makes you at unease for what kind of horrors will come next. But here it feels like the same kind of exorcism scene everyone seems to do ever since The Exorcist came out. Except instead of harrowing and unsettling it's over-the-top in the cheesiest possible way.

And that's the kind of "scares" you will get through the whole thing. Not only were the jumpscares far too many, but so easily telegraphed as well. Every false moment of relief you can tell will be interrupted by someone popping up when they turn around or someone grabs them with their rusty claws. I'm not against all forms of jumpscares (I know very well James Wan used them as well), but there has to be some kind of tension, a chilling atmosphere that makes the jumpscares when they do actually happen pay off. It's a sign of laziness the director can't let the audience get a little nervous before they drop the big monster on them. Speaking of the monsters as well, how come that every bad horror movie has really fake-looking digital effects? You're too distracted by how ridiculous it looks to get any kind of reaction out of them. Crooked Man and The Nun both felt real and really got under your skin. The Occultist was a decent villain, and Eugenie Bondurant does a good enough job at making her threatening, but even she is still a victim of occasional poor CGI work.

But what about the story? Does it make up for the lack of scares? There is potential with a case where someone claims to be controlled by the devil after committing a murder, and whether or not you can make it hold up as a legal defense. The legal aspect is so irrelevant to the plot at hand however that the movie doesn't remember to bring it up again until the ending. Instead we're dealing with a mystery where the connections are too loose to be interesting. The weirdest plot twist has to be when they build up Kastner (a former priest) to possibly be connected to a Satanic cult, and then it turns out he's just the stepfather of the woman who turned into a demonic creature. So what was the point of all the scenes between him and the Warrens? Just pure exposition?

There are still a few positives. Ed and Lorraine save this movie from reaching the bottom, and it's largely due to Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. You love seeing them as these characters, and even though the whole backstory of them falling in love is underexplained (Are they implying their love was forbidden or something?), their chemistry is very believable and makes for some of the few suspenseful moments in the film. When Lorraine has to cover in fear as a possessed Ed tries to strike her repeatedly with a hammer you really feel bad for her since she has to run for her life from someone she loves.

Ruari O'Connor and Sarah Catherine Hook, even though their characters are not all that interesting (Before Arne gets possessed by the devil we don't know much about him at all other than him thinking about proposing to his girlfriend) both do a good job. Julian Hillard is also solid as David, the boy whose waterbed was probably bought at IKEA.

The ending is okay, I guess. A moment of sweetness between Ed and Lorraine. But the real highlight is the credits, where we get to hear an audio tape of the case this movie is based on. Even though I'm not a believer of the occult or anything, that's the only part I actually found creepy, if not for the sounds alone.

I should've known I was in for a letdown when James Wan jumped ship, but I was hoping the change in director wouldn't affect the movie's quality too much, and the tone would generally still be in the spirit of the first two Conjurings.

Instead, this is just another modern horror film without much style or class.