Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Warrens investigate a murder that may be linked to a demonic possession.
The Warrens are the draw that keeps us coming back for more, and this third entry is no exception. Not only are they as good as ever, but there is an unexpected physical threat to Ed that keeps us on our toes. It is all based on a true story, but there is still something about these films that makes you feel as if you have no clue what the outcome will be while you are watching. The fear going in was the fact that James Wan is not our Director here. He still has his fingerprints on the script, but Michael Chaves takes over after a mediocre effort with La Llorona. While most of the weaknesses spawn from the change in Director, there is still a lot to like about what he does.
He keeps some of the signature Wan shots, and the cast feeds extremely well off of each other. We also begin with what could go down as the best opening scene from any of the films in the franchise. It all feels different from what we know (trilogy-wise), but the opening started things off on the right note. Beyond that, we have two stories that go in different directions. Even though the possession is the headlining story, there is less to be interested in when you are comparing it to what is happening with the Warren family. Both become a bit convoluted in the second act, which ends up being the worst act of any Conjuring film, but there is a bit of redemption in the third. As always, the end is emotional, but a lot of this spawns from caring so much about these two characters.
What we are here for is the hope that we will get scared. The scares should clearly be the focus, and there are definitely one or two great ones. The scares that fall flat are ones that will have people missing the patience of James Wan. This film substitutes that haunting feeling with a cheap jump scare a few too many times. It isn’t constant like some of the bad spinoff films, but it happens enough to notice. Nevertheless, the fact that these creatures/dead bodies look incredible begins to make up for it, as the VFX and practical effects are just phenomenal. The “evil being” that they inevitably take on does not get the necessary fleshing out to care as much as the other two films, but there is so much about the ending to love. The Warrens are just so compelling, and their relationship continues to develop in an interesting way. All in all, it isn’t on the level of the first two, but it still works better than most of the franchise.