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January 22nd, 2022

the conjuring 3 spotlight pageCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


“Dude, that was a WILD roller coaster ride.”

These were the words uttered by my younger sister, Hayley, as we exited the movie theater this past weekend after finishing “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” while I was home for the 4th of July holiday. 

The movie is the latest in the “The Conjuring” franchise and follows the trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, a murder trial that took place in 1981 Connecticut, and has Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga returning as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren as they help with the investigation into the case. I had seen the trailer for the movie a little while ago ahead of “A Quiet Place Part 2” and it definitely got my attention. 

The movie actually opens with an exorcism pertaining to another case of the Warrens, which sees plenty in the way of scares right out of the gate. And for my sister and I, the remainder of the runtime saw plenty of scares to keep us interested and almost too scared to move, because we didn’t want to miss anything. In that same vein, the pacing of the movie was also done very well, and everything in the movie moved along very quickly – nothing was put in the movie that didn’t have a purpose, and the end result was a well-paced story that was able to keep us fully invested for the runtime. 

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The cast in the movie also did a great job. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are a great duo as Ed and Lorraine Warren, and they have great chemistry onscreen and work really well together as a couple. They play off each other well, and there’s definitely a sense there that they actually care about each other. Overall, I’ve really enjoyed watching them in these roles the the two “Conjuring” movies I’ve seen, and I hope they’re paired up for another movie in the “Conjuring” universe. I was also very impressed by Ruairi O'Connor’s performance as the demon-possessed Arne Johnson – he does a great job showing the torture and anguish his character goes through while being possessed, and at a few points in the movie, I couldn’t help but think “This guy must have needed some SERIOUS cooling-off periods between filming scenes” because that’s how much he threw himself into the role. Eugenie Bondurant is also quite terrifying as an occultist the Warrens have to come up against later in the movie, and I became anxious every time she came on screen. 

Something else my sister and I noticed in the movie was how hard the sound department went throughout the movie. Every creaking and cracking bone of Arne’s while he was possessed, every mysterious footstep, every ominous chord – all of that added to the movie’s spooky atmosphere and it was all done very well. Ad mittedly, I felt like they could have toned it down slightly with the contorting bones and bodies, but overall, the sound department still did a good job. If I end up getting this movie on DVD or catching it on Netflix at some point in the near future, I can almost guarantee the effect won’t be the same as it was in the movie theatre. In that same vein, I also liked how there were mostly practical special effects used throughout the movie instead of heavy reliance on CGI for the scares. I feel like practical effects just add more to a horror movie and quite frankly, also look better. 

I’ve mentioned before how one of my pet peeves with horror movies is when the characters intentionally make bad decisions that make me facepalm, and thankfully, this movie fits into that category and doesn’t have the characters do that. There were a few moments in the movie during the investigation where I couldn’t help but slightly cringe at some of the dialogue, but overall, there weren’t really any moments that made my eyes get a rolling workout.

If I had one complaint with this movie, I would say there were a few too many horror movie tropes used throughout – former Catholic priest with a secret? Check. Evil occultist witch with no apparent true motive for doing what she does? Check. Frequent mentions of Satan? Check. I know this particular story comes from the Warrens’ actual case files, but I feel like there could have been a little more originality when adapting this into a movie. 

Overall, I enjoyed my viewing of “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” and I would give it a “B” grade. The scares are intense and done really well, the atmosphere is perfectly spooky, and the cast throughout the movie does a great job, especially the leading pair playing the Warrens and Ruairi O'Connor as Arne Johnson. If you’re a fan of any of the other “Conjuring” movies, this will also be one to enjoy. 

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