The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Written by: The Bat
The third titled Conjuring film (technically the 8th released in the series) opens with the Warrens observing and assisting in another exorcism, this time on 8 year old David Glatzel. However, this exorcism does not have the usual success the Warrens expect, with instead Ed ending up in the hospital and the demon jumping from David into his future brother in law Arne. Arne seems alright for a time, but then he goes insane, starts seeing things and ends up killing his landlord. His girlfriend Debbie sees this happen just as Ed wakes up from heart surgery to gasp out that Arne is in danger.
The Warrens, while not able to stop the murder, are determined to help Arne avoid the death penalty by proving that he was possessed at the time of the murder, and The Devil made him do it. This is where the plot gets a bit twisty, as they go part psychic and part criminal investigator, only to discover that the Glatzel family was cursed by a Satanist. In an attempt to find out where or who this Satanist is, Lorraine opens a two way connection that exposes Ed and herself to the Satanist, who of course, proceeds to curse them too.
Anything more than this would completely spoil the ending, so I will leave it a bit vague. The Warrens go to find the Satanist, with the intention of ending the curse. She messes with their heads and their love for each other saves them. Arne’s demon comes back and chaos ensues at the jail. There are some very creepy camera effects, some vague plot points, a somewhat predictable twist and a happy ending for the Warrens and, somewhat, the Glatzels.
Strong performances by the main couple, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. We have learned to expect this, as their on screen chemistry has always been strong. They are close friends off set as well, and it shows in their easy comfortable exchanges. The writers definitely sold their solid romance, as they take care of each other, worry for each other and support each other, and the actors followed through perfectly. Great acting as well by Debbie (played by Sarah Catherine Hook), Arne (Ruairi O’Connor) and the little boy, David (Julian Hilliard). I also give credit to the contortionists used for the possessed people, especially the 12 year old girl that doubled for David, as those scenes were amazing!
That leads to my second good point: the visuals. The movies in this series are consistently strong in their visual details, which make the gruesome visuals even better. For example, the texture on the hand of a body that has been underwater for months, the sound of bones cracking or bark crackling when it is touched by a hand, the bloated, veiny skin of a rotting corpse brought back to life, the makeup on the possessed individuals that makes them seem tired, half dead and insane all at once. Also, a few compelling fight and chase sequences where people end up chasing and almost killing people they don’t expect, one with Lorraine even chasing herself? It sounds strange, but looks awesome on film.
Now I’ve read several blogs debating on whether or not this film was actually scary. I cannot attest to that, as I have not been scared by a horror movie yet. However, I will give it this good point: it was definitely startling. The sound effects combined with the varied amount of build up time before the jump scares even made me startle 3 times (yes, The Dragon was counting).
While the plot for this film started out strong, it became too convoluted and lost it’s path as the film continued. Wan wanted to depart from the basic haunted house, and he did that, but as it turned from a horror film to a crime drama to a love story and back, it lost its cohesion. There are also several parts that just didn’t make any sense. Who lets the girlfriend of the accused killer spend the night at the jail with him? Also, some parts were just too convenient. The very place Lorraine has to go to find the next part of the puzzle is just where she needs to be, Ed has the exact tool he needs to defeat the curse….It was like the writer knew he had gotten off track and had to wrap things up before they got worse. And while the unanswered questions definitely lend to the true story genre (as the person that could answer them was dead), they still leave the viewer with a WTF type feeling. Also, the synopsis at the end of the film gives the impression that Arne got a short sentence because of the Warrens’ assistance with the case. The real story is completely different, as the possession defense was not even allowed by the judge and he got a short sentence for good behavior.
This may be a bit of a personal complaint, but the fact that the Satanist, supposedly an agent of chaos and mayhem, was dressed like an uptight school teacher, didn’t seem to fit either. I mean, she was creepy and in all black, and maybe that look was 80s for creepy, as most of the rest of the costuming was on point for the decade.
It’s not the best or the worst I’ve seen. I would not say it is the best of the Conjuring films, as it was advertised. The plot holes were so big we could drive a truck through them. But we did go see it twice, and I was not bored either time. The romance made us smile and the jump scares made us laugh at each other for jumping. Go see it for a fun time, and don’t think about it too much.
The Dragon’s 2 cents
“…jump scares made
us laugh at each other me laugh at the Bat for getting startled.” Sadly the movie didn’t scare me in any way. I do wonder if that’ll ever happen, despite that I did enjoy the movie as a whole despite it being a bit all over the place in terms of the theme/genre.