Nicolò Grasso’s review published on Letterboxd:
Original Title: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Year of Release: 2021
Genres: Horror; Supernatural Thriller; Mystery
Director: Michael Chaves
Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, James Wan
Main Cast: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O'Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, John Noble, Eugenie Bondurant, Shannon Kook, Ronnie Gene Blevin, Keith Arthur Bolden, Steve Coulter
Finally went back to the cinema for the first time since last September, and I couldn't pick a better movie than The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. Those who know me well are aware that I have a long history with this franchise, going way back to 2013 when it was only my second R-rated horror film watched in the cinemas (the first being the Evil Dead remake). I then saw the second one right after (or right before) finishing high-school in 2016, so it was fitting to celebrate the end of my academic career and beginning of a new chapter in my life by seeing this on the big screen.
Michael Chaves took the directing duties this time around, and while Curse of La Llorona was riddled with problems, his direction was actually decent, and here he shows a lot of promise. The film as a whole has a classical feel that is even stronger than the first two chapters at time, going so far as directly homaging The Exorcist in its opening scene alone.
If the first film was a haunted house spookfest and the second a possession thrill-ride, The Conjuring 3 is a proper investigative mystery: there are no gimmicky demons that will get spin-offs, nor are we confined in just one setting, rather we explore many varied areas, mixing moments of fear and jump-scares (of which there are less than I expected) with a compelling search for the truth.
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are officially iconic as the only successful couple in horror cinema, portraying Lorraine and Ed Warren with so much love and charm that it's impossible not to love them. If they were part of the main cast in the previous films, they are front and center here from beginning to end, with the most screentime and most depth given to their characters. Though I will never be able to fully shed my Catholic upbringing, there will always be something exciting about two demonologists fighting the forces of darkness through the power of love and Jesus.
The tone of the film is slightly less fantastical than its predecessor, but still very supernatural and even over-the-top by the time we reach the climax. That's not a negative for me, as I believe that this is the type of big-budget horror filmmaking that other series could never get away with.
The action never gets stale thanks to a variety of set-pieces in different locations, the human drama of the Arne Johnson case ties back into the themes of family that have always been the core of this series, and the journey was exciting and even fun at times (they have almost a literal zombie here, come on!).
It is hard for a franchise to reinvent itself after 8 years and 7 films, but The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It manages to not feel stale and delivers an exciting new adventure. I'm curious to see where the series goes on next, since dropping the number in the title tells me that we might be seeing prequels to the early days of the Warrens. At least I hope there won't be any other bullshit spin-offs and only worthwhile ones, as long as Farmiga and Wilson are coming back.
Violence & Gore: 7
Sex & Nudity: 1
Drugs & Profanity: 3
Intensity & Horror: 6