THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT (2021) Reviews and new 80s-style IMAX poster

 

‘The demonic case that shocked America’

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a 2021 American supernatural horror film directed by Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona; short: The Maiden) from a screenplay written by David Leslie Johnson (The Walking DeadDungeons & Dragons; Red Riding Hood; Orphan), based on a story by Johnson and James Wan. The latter returned as co-producer alongside Peter Safran for his Atomic Monster production company.

David Leslie Johnson co-wrote the previous entry, which grossed $320 million at the box office worldwide even before residuals such as Blu-ray, DVD and streaming sales.

The soundtrack score was composed by Joseph Bishara (Malignant; The Unholy; Dreamkatcher; Insidious franchise; Annabelle; The Convent).

Plot:

The Devil Made Me Do It reveals a chilling story of terror, murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. One of the most sensational cases from their files, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they’d ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defence.”

Reviews: 

“Chaves handles the shocks in an effective though perfunctory manner and like the first film it builds to an overblown finale. But it’s nicely photographed by Michael Burgess with the deepest black shadows and richly warm hues and he’s homed his craft on other James Wan horror spin-off Annabelle Comes Home, and the demonic doll inevitably gets a fleeting mention here. Whilst not as satisfying as the second Conjuring it’s not without its moments…” Any Good Films?

“If you are a fan of the movies then you will enjoy the nostalgia of the genre, but don’t expect those screams. For me, this movie is more akin to The Nun than the first two movies, but it’s not the worst in the Conjuring Universe, it’s just great to see the characters back on the big screen again…” Blazing Minds

“The Warrens’ unwavering devotion to each other offsets the body count and grim subject matter. The result is a thrilling new entry full of surprises and hair-raising intensity that zips along and leaves you clamoring for more. Chaves seamlessly takes the reins from Wan and runs with it…” Bloody Disgusting

” …a fairly solid and entertaining story is formed. All of which helps when building up to some well-executed scares, and thankfully there are plenty of those to enjoy along the way. Impressive use of light and dark, along with some great sound editing often means that you know something is coming, but are surprised by the way that it is actually delivered.” Cine Chat

” …interesting addition to this instalment is the presence of a very human antagonist, a shadowy figure who provides Lorraine with an adversary that’s as gifted as she is, albeit as a dark reflection. There’s more tension and less out-and-out horror this time out, too, with a few genuinely funny moments that feel organic to the story rather than forced in for checkbox purposes.” The Craggus

“It’s clear that Chaves has taken from lessons learned, actually drawing more of his nightmarish imagery from his short, The Maiden. Starting off the new decade on a high, no matter what the widespread response to the film is, it will surely linger in your mind for a long time. That is the mark of not only a great Horror film, but a fantastic film.” Discussing Film

” …there’s plenty of straight-up hellishness waiting for you in The Devil Made Me Do It: New phantoms, strange characters, and intense terror. The film is bolstered by a fantastic, nerve-jangling score by Joseph Bishara (the composer behind all of The Conjuring movies), great special effects, and brilliant editing. Prepare to be hooked immediately and held rapt throughout.” Dread Central

“Yes, this film has jump scares, but thanks to misdirection, they’re not always ones I was expecting, and it has a number of lingering shots as you’d left wondering what the reveal will be. However, while the film starts brilliantly, the longer it goes on, the more it throws random, nonsensical supernatural elements at the screen, which don’t seem to connect with each other, other than telling us a curse needs to be broken.” DVD Fever

The Devil Made Me Do It feels rote and dispassionate, lacking even the basic memorable thrills of the instantly iconic mascot-type monsters introduced in the prior Wan joints. James Wan’s creative, character-driven craftsmanship is sorely missed in this watchable threequel, which is near-paradoxically the dullest and the silliest of the Conjuring trilogy.” Flickering Myth

“Easily the most exhilarating film in the franchise, this outing for Lorraine and Ed exudes confidence. Jumps are well executed with plenty of tense buildups that’ll have you hiding behind your popcorn. All the classic Conjuring tropes still exist but they’ve all been elevated to new levels along with the more mature story.” Get Your Comic On

” …the grandest to date, directed with real flair by Michael Chaves (who was also behind 2019’s soggy La Llorona), taking over from James Wan who acts as producer and what feels like mentor here, sharing his tips on how best to maximise darkness and space. While there are some jump scares, Chaves, like Wan before him, frequently decides against the easy or obvious option, opting for atmosphere over cheap trickery.” The Guardian

“Wan and Chaves’s plight in opening up a fresh new take for the Conjuring series, making it thriller than killer, is an understandable move, but ultimately the film does suffer from it. If the question is – will the need to keep fans interested in a beloved series with a new installment that diverts heavily from its origins affect the overall impact of the film – the answer is yes. They should have stuck with the devil they know.” HeyUGuys

“Chaves has proven his technical prowess as the consummate journeyman director. He can ape Wan, but something tells me he has a nasty talent for horror just waiting for the right moment. This is crowd-pleasing, hair-raising horror that is the best reason to get back to the movies yet if for no other reason than to scream again.” Horror Buzz

“I’d argue it’s still worth your time, but now Ed and Lorraine’s saga feels a bit watered down. Taking over from director James Wan is Michael Chaves, who was assigned the job after his work on the hilariously over-hated Curse of La Llorona. The movie is well-directed and well-shot.” Morbidly Beautiful

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is by no means a horror flop, but it does lack the authenticity that made the original two films so enthralling. Though it is lacklustre in certain areas, the prominent presence of Wilson and Farmiga is captivating enough that these moments are easily forgotten. Overall, a solid addition to the genre…” Music City Drive-In

“It isn’t Chavas’s fault, per se, but akin to the creepy surroundings where these endeavours usually take place, the creaks are starting to get louder and though its design, sound and panache remain, this is a lesser beast. New additions O’Connor as the film’s possessed and his girlfriend Debbie, played by Sarah Catherine Hook, do inject some youthful vibrancy but it isn’t quite enough to exorcise the derivative demons that have begun to circle above.” The People’s Movies

“With the Warrens in private detective mode, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It leaves one key element, the haunted house setting, behind with decidedly mixed results. Chaves periodically loses the narrative thread […] To be fair, the back half of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It features several modestly effective set-pieces…” Screen Anarchy

“The scares might be predictable and lacking some of that shock factor, but they are unarguably well-executed – case and point, the extended opening scene offers a delicious homage to The Exorcist, with a truly terrific performance from Julian Hilliard. The diverging storylines also mean the audience is allowed time to breathe, away from the movie’s horror elements.” Starburst

” …the plot plays out pretty generically, the solution to the big third act climax was a complete eye-roller and you pretty much knew the whole time that the Warren’s were never in any real danger.  So…as nice as it was to have a change of plot, it didn’t work for me. This one certainly feels like it is suffering form franchise fatigue […] the weakest of the three films.” Trailer Trashed

“Aside from the gloomy lighting and a Joseph Bishara score, most of the film is firmly in horror cliché territory; CGI-d contortionists, the sound of snapping bones, wannabe-scary hands over objects. We’ve seen it all before and we’ve seen it done better […] When you watch the slapstick-esque scene with an overweight corpse falling flat on his face when Lorraine’s psychic-connection is severed, you may even think you’re watching a comedy.” What Went Wrong With ..?

Choice dialogue:

Drew: “Now, my Latin is rusty but I think this is talking about human sacrifice.”

Release date:

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It will be released by Warner Bros/New Line theatrically and on HBO Max on June 4, 2021. It has been rated ‘R’ by the MPA for “Terror, Violence, and some disturbing images.”

Previously, co-star Patrick Wilson commented on the latest sequel, which began production last June in Atlanta, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:

“The process was fantastic, and it’s a much different feel,” Wilson stated. “It’s still the same bones; it’s still very much Ed and Lorraine. Again, we are pushing our characters to places they haven’t gone, but the film will be a really nice addition because it’s definitely a different beast. Pun intended.”

Cast and characters:

Vera Farmiga … Lorraine Warren
Patrick Wilson … Ed Warren
Julian Hilliard … David Glatzel
Shannon Kook … Drew Thomas
Eugenie Bondurant
Sterling Jerins … Judy Warren
Charlene Amoia … Judy Glatzel
Ruairi O’Connor … Arne
Mitchell Hoog … Young Ed
Ingrid Bisu
Ronnie Gene Blevins … Bruno
Sarah Catherine Hook … Debbie Glatzel
Rebecca Lines … Witch #2
Steve Coulter … Father Gordon
Megan Ashley Brown … Young Lorraine
Andrea Andrade … Katie
Mark Rowe … Sergeant Thomas
Nicky Buggs … Witch Woman
Ashley LeConte Campbell … Meryl Dewitt
Stacy Johnson
Regina Ting Chen … News Reporter
Keith Arthur Bolden … Sgt. Clay
Casey Hendershot … Inmate
Robert Walker Branchaud … Prison Guard
Elijah Everett … Prison Guard #2 Roof
Lindsay Ayliffe … Judge
Paul Wilson … Carl Glatzel
Chris Greene … Deputy
Nicholas Massouh Nicholas Massouh … Doctor
Davis Osborne … John Beckett

Notes:

Not to be confused with the low-budget epic Conjuring the Devil (2020) directed by Brian Schiavo [as Max Dementor].

Featurette:

Trailer:

Ending explained: