By Bradley Lane
When James Wan released the first “Conjuring” film in 2013, he cemented his name into the canon of classic horror directors.
Since the first film was released, Wan has followed it up with an equally successful sequel and a web of spin off films that combine to become the highest-grossing horror franchise ever. The third film in the franchise,“The Conjuring: The Devil
Made Me Do It,” is helmed not by James Wan; but by Michael Chavez. Best known
for “The Conjuring” spin-off “The Curse of La Llorona,” Chavez’s vision as a director is far less ambitious or interesting than Wan’s, and the film suffers dearly because of this.
Following the trend of the first two “Conjuring” movies, this film interprets the story of the film from the case files of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine
Warren. In this case, the film tells the tale of Arne Johnson as he attempts to plead not guilty to a murder based on demonic possession. The Warren’s task is to gather evidence to help Johnson defend his case, which leads them to a much more sinister evil.
Immediately upon reading the plot synopsis, I was intrigued by what a “Conjuring” film involving the American judicial system would entail. It was a concept tantalizingly open to creative interpretation. However, to my disappointment, in basically every moment of the film, the writers take the most predictable route imaginable.
Despite this, the emotional core of the series remains in the relationship between the Warrens. Both Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson have great comfortability in their characters and give moving performances in their established roles. Aside from those performances, the rest of the cast is uniformly mediocre.
The issue at the heart of this film is the lackluster direction. The first two films under James Wan’s direction rely on expertly crafted tension to deliver their scares. Unfortunately, Chavez falls back on tired musical cues to trick audiences into cheap unearned jump scares.
“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” is nothing more than an addition to a trend of lazy, unoriginal horror film-making that is all the more disappointing coming from one of the most reputable horror series ever.