The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – 2021

Director Michael Chaves
Screenplay David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, John Noble, Andrea Andrade, Ronnie Gene Blevins

The onscreen couple of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Ed and Lorraine Warren has such an uncool quality it’s felt real from the jump. The original film is good. The followup, featuring Bonnie Aarons as The Nun, is the best in the series. The rest of the Conjuring Universe has varied, but never embarrassing up to now.

This time, the Warrens are helping a young man who commits murder of a particularly unsavory roommate. This particular murder and the sequence leading to it may be the worst scene in the entire series. Blevins, who plays the victim, has such a negative screen presence, it’s a relief to know he will be gone soon.

The story puts the two more in peril from each other than anyone else this time. This is effective for the reasons of their faithful, awkward bond that would not fit any two other actors so well as it does Wilson and Farmiga. The other characters are sympathetic when they are supposed to be, but rarely scary, even when they are supposed to be possessed. Chaves is less effective here than he is in The Curse of La Llorona in sprinkling scary moments in the midst of the storylines. There is also a lack of scary beings or artifacts that one might see in future films. Having no rooms with adequate lighting makes everything seem a little more ridiculous than usual.

One of the more effective aspects of the story is the play on the physical conditioning of Wilson’s Ed Warren. He suffers a setback early on that helps to install relevant fear which simultaneously gives the couple the genuine feel of growing older within the roles. Another good sequence takes place in a county morgue with conveniently questionable lighting.

It’s doubtful anyone will dislike this entry, beyond the afore-mentioned lack of lighting, but it’s also no sure bet that it will be nearly revisited as the first two films. Subtract half of a point for sadly wasting John Noble.

(**1/2 out of *****)

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