The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

2021, R, 112 min. Directed by Michael Chaves. Starring Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, Charlene Amoia, Sterling Jerins.

REVIEWED By Jenny Nulf, Fri., June 11, 2021

Money is no issue for The Conjuring films. The series is one of the biggest, most convoluted studio IPs that doesn’t derive from comic books, and the core films of James Wan’s demonic Catholic cinematic universe are some of the most expensive looking horror films being made today. They’re wonderfully period accurate with beautiful touches, incredible camera rigging, and detailed costuming. Extravagant set pieces be damned, though – including a well-executed scene involving a luxurious waterbed – The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It doesn’t live up to the bone-chilling focus, simplicity, and direction of Wan’s first film in this bloated eight-part series.

The Devil Made Me Do It director Michael Chaves replicates Wan’s flair the best he can, with sweeping wide shots of gorgeous houses and quiet, misleading spooky sequences that erect into clutch-your-pearls jump scares. There’s even a visual callback to the first film’s signature scare, an attempt to recreate the tension of Lili Taylor’s infamous basement clap game by stuffing Vera Farmiga, who plays medium Lorraine Warren, in a tiny crawlspace under the obligatory cursed family home. Chaves is a smooth copycat, much better at recreating Wan’s vision than the Annabelle and Nun spinoffs that swirl around the main series, to a point where it’s debatable as to how much of the directorial reigns Chaves held, and if The Devil Made Me Do It was even half as good as its genre neighbor, Poltergeist, this could be a film where people debated the truth behind the director credit for decades.

But to buy into The Devil Made Me Do It, Chaves, Wan, and co-writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick ask you to buy into the innocence of a small-town upstanding gentleman, Arne (O’Connor), who couldn’t have possibly murdered the boss and landlord of his girlfriend, Debbie Glatzel (Hook). The series being based on the case files of the real-life Warrens, two notorious con artists who profited off desperate people, was never much of a distraction until this particular entry.

The Devil Made Me Do It showcases Ed Warren (Wilson) and wife Lorraine hopping around the judicial system, proving the existence of demons, and defeating skepticism in ways that Dana Scully and Fox Mulder could never. Set in the thick of the Satanic Panic, the Warrens sincere case of Arne’s innocence is disturbing, negligent, and even dangerous. The Devil Made Me Do It twists reality (in truth, the demon defense was not accepted in court), and plays it up as fact, something that’s not often an issue but in an age where conspiracy is increasingly running amok, this entry feels a bit more misguided.

The Devil Made Me Do It’s mystery is weighed down in explosive set pieces and grander acts of devotion, both religious and martial, which loses the focus of the (albeit dull) setup. An overlong climax that channels both The Exorcist and The Shining is tired by tropes, snapping back and forth between Arne’s battle against the evil forces that still possess him in jail and the Warrens' even grander battle against the Big Bad Occult-Obsessed Witch who is the baddie pulling the strings. There’s an explicit theme of “love conquers all,” as seen in both Debbie and Arne’s loyalty and the Warrens’ ongoing blistering passion. It’s a thread that clicks more in the preceding films, and one that is exhausted in this entry.

It’s disappointing to stop rooting for a blockbuster behemoth horror series, but The Conjuring movies’ quality and talon-tight hold has rapidly deflated over time. The films have lost sight of what made them grand, escapist, and celebrated, and burning the “based on true events” marquee to evoke sympathy in this particular case is disengaging.

Showtimes

Thu., June 17

6:45, 10:35

AMC Dine-In Tech Ridge 10

12625 N. I-35, 512/640-1533, www.amctheatres.com

Tue., June 15

CC 8:10
CC/DVS 6:30, 8:20

Wed., June 16

CC 8:10
CC/DVS 8:10

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 Capital of Texas Hwy. S., 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Tue., June 15

CC/DVS 1:10, 2:10, 4:10, 5:10, 8:10

Wed., June 16

CC/DVS 1:10, 2:10, 4:10, 5:10, 8:10

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Tue., June 15

digital 12:45, 1:45, 2:45, 3:45, 4:40, 5:45, 6:45, 7:30, 8:45, 9:45, 10:20

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Tue., June 15

digital 12:45, 2:30, 8:10

Tue., June 15

digital 2:15, 3:20, 5:15, 6:30, 8:30, 9:30

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Tue., June 15

digital 1:05, 2:40, 4:15, 5:45, 7:15, 8:45

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., June 15

digital 11:40am, 1:05, 2:50, 4:20, 5:45, 7:50, 8:40

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Tue., June 15

digital 4:10, 7:00

Wed., June 16

digital 4:10, 7:00

Thu., June 17

digital 4:10, 7:00

Wed., June 16

4:30, 7:10

Thu., June 17

3:25, 5:45, 8:05

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Tue., June 15

1:45, 4:45, 7:35

Wed., June 16

1:45, 4:45, 7:35

Thu., June 17

1:45, 4:45, 7:35

Evo Cinemas Belterra

166 Hargraves Ste. A-100, 512/457-0700, www.evocinemas.com/drippingsprings

Tue., June 15

11:45am, 1:45, 4:45, 7:45

Wed., June 16

11:45am, 1:45, 4:45, 7:45

Thu., June 17

11:45am, 1:45, 4:45, 7:45

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Tue., June 15

9:45am, 11:00am, 12:30, 1:45, 3:15, 4:30, 7:15, 8:30

Wed., June 16

9:45am, 12:30, 3:15, 6:15, 9:00

Thu., June 17

9:45am, 12:30, 3:15, 6:15, 9:00, 10:00

Film Alley Bastrop

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, bastrop.filmalley.net/

Tue., June 15

1:15, 4:55, 7:45

Wed., June 16

1:15, 4:55, 7:45

Thu., June 17

1:15, 4:55, 7:45

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Tue., June 15

CC 1:30, 4:15, 7:15

Wed., June 16

CC 1:30, 4:30, 7:15

Fri., June 18

CC 1:20, 4:20, 7:20, 10:20

Sat., June 19

CC 1:20, 4:20, 7:20, 10:20

Sun., June 20

CC 1:20, 4:20, 7:20, 10:20

Mon., June 21

CC 1:20, 4:20, 7:30

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., June 15

CC/DVS 1:10, 2:10, 4:10, 5:30, 8:30, 8:50

Wed., June 16

CC/DVS 1:00, 1:40, 2:10, 4:40, 5:30, 6:50, 7:50, 8:50

Thu., June 17

CC/DVS 1:00, 1:40, 2:10, 4:40, 5:30, 6:50, 7:50, 8:50

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Tue., June 15

11:45am, 2:25, 5:00, 7:40, 10:15

Wed., June 16

11:45am, 2:25, 5:00, 7:40, 10:15

Thu., June 17

11:45am, 2:25, 5:00, 7:40, 10:15

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Wed., June 16

5:15, 8:15

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Tue., June 15

CC/DVS 7:20

Wed., June 16

CC/DVS 7:20

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 FM 620 N., Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Tue., June 15

2:45, 7:00, 9:00

Wed., June 16

2:45, 7:00, 9:00

Thu., June 17

2:45, 7:00, 9:00

Fri., June 18

1:45, 5:00, 8:30

Sat., June 19

1:45, 5:00, 8:30

Sun., June 20

1:45, 5:00, 8:30

Mon., June 21

1:45, 5:00, 8:30

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Pkwy., Bldg. 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Tue., June 15

2:00, 5:30, 8:00

Wed., June 16

2:00, 5:30, 8:00

Thu., June 17

2:00, 5:30, 8:00

Fri., June 18

2:15, 5:30, 8:30

Sat., June 19

2:15, 8:45

Sun., June 20

2:15, 5:30, 8:30

Mon., June 21

2:00, 5:30, 8:30

Southwest Theaters at Lake Creek 7

13729 Research #1500, 512/291-3158, www.southwesttheaters.com

$6.50 children and senior tickets (all-day), $5 Tuesdays (all tickets), Bargain Matinees before 5pm daily.

Tue., June 15

1:40, 4:30, 7:20

Wed., June 16

1:40, 4:30, 7:20

Thu., June 17

1:40, 4:30, 7:20

Tue., June 15

1:15, 4:30, 7:15, 10:15

Wed., June 16

1:15, 4:00, 7:15, 10:10

Thu., June 17

1:15, 4:00, 7:15, 10:10

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READ MORE
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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Michael Chaves, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, Charlene Amoia, Sterling Jerins

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