The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It Image

You’ve seen it all done before, and better. Technically, this marks the eighth entry in the Conjuring Universe. Preceding it was The ConjuringAnnabelleThe Conjuring 2Annabelle: CreationThe NunThe Curse of La Llorona (which Chaves also directed), and Annabelle Comes Home. That’s a lot of conjuring. For fans, it’s chockfull of references to its sibling titles, as well as The Exorcist, along with every other exorcism/ghost film ever produced. But a strung-together collage of references does not a movie make.

I had trouble believing things like Lorraine’s clairvoyant sequences, wherein it totally looks like she’s deep into playing an intense VR game, sans the head-set. The cutting between two storylines renders both infinitely less effective. Like most other chapters in this series, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It tries too hard by doing too much. True horror doesn’t come from spooky make-up or dream sequences or “boo” moments. It comes from sympathetic characters, from things left unseen, your mind conjuring (sorry) images much more frightening than any filmmaker could muster. The over-reliance on familiar tropes – it really hinges on the whole “Lorraine wandering through the otherworld” scenes – bogs it down further into the pits of cinematic hell.

“[Farmiga and Wilson] still manage to add a touch of class…”

Throughout it all, Farmiga runs around wide-eyed and horrified, while Wilson seems as earnest as ever (“earnest” should be his middle name). The duo still manages to add a touch of class, if not depth, to the proceedings. Strip away the impeccable production values and what you get is another bottom-of-the-barrel, cheesy-as-all-hell exorcism film. The fact that it’s based on a real story, the 1981 “Devil made Me Do it” trial, will only make you wish you were watching a doc on the subject instead.

A blatant cash-grab, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It may actually stumble at the box office due to a certain other (infinitely better) little horror flick dominating it at the moment. Unless I’m way off, that is, and folks are clamoring to exorcise some demons. In any case, a theater showing this title is bound to be a very quiet place.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

Directed: Michael Chaves

Written: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O'Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, John Noble, Eugenie Bondurant, etc.

Movie score: 3/10

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It Image

"…marks the eighth entry in the Conjuring Universe."

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