I love the Conjuring movies and, as of today, I love 2/3rds of them because the newest entry, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is such a horrifying step down from the previous two entries. Where the first two were effective and atmospheric haunted house romps, The Devil Made Me Do It is a locationless dredge, a boring and aimless mystery that literally eviscerates everything that worked in the franchise.
While I applaud the writers and directors for trying something new, this is a gamble that just didn’t work.
The Devil Made Me Do It, a title as silly as the movie it sits on, tells a fictionalized account of real life paranormal demonologists and con artists, the Warrens, as they try to defend a young man who commits a murder under the influence of demonic possession. During their race to find out the nature of the possession, they come across a mystery and a mysterious new foe that… well, I won’t lie. It’s very disappointing.
The Conjuring movies have worked because they’ve been about a specific location and a specific family. The first two movies developed the families well enough to make them likeable and familiar as the homes that they live in so that, when terrible ghostly things start to happen, you are scared for the fates of the characters.
With The Devil Made Me Do It, you never feel that connection. You never really get to know Arne, the guy on trial, because he’s written as blandly as possible. He’s a guy with no real flaws and the only thing you really know about him is that he’s really really nice and doesn’t deserve what’s happening to him. The same thing goes with every other character in this movie. Not a one of them merits any real investment.
If that’s not enough, The Devil Made Me Do It is a mobile mystery, going from location to location forgoing the haunted house setting of the other movies. It doesn’t feel like a creepy paranormal investigation, it feels like an episode of The X-Files.
What we end up isn’t a story of good vs. evil or faith vs. the paranormal, but rather the villain is a flesh and blood person and, while this person has got some evil magic hoodoo, the climax of the movie lacks any real punch because… it’s just a person. Imagine the ending takes place after Scooby Doo and the gang pull the mask off the monster. That’s how The Devil Made Me Do It do.
Littered with pointless jump scares and a slogging plot, the latest entry in The Conjuring Universe is a limp, soulless chore, a more and noticeable step down for such a solid franchise. I only hope that the creators of this film use it as a learning experience and gives the fictional versions of The Warrens a scarier adventure on their next time out.