The late Ed and Lorraine Warren are back a it in another installment of an expanded cinematic universe from the director of The Curse of La Llorona)
Unfortunately, in The Conjuring: The Dvil Made Me Do It the combination of horror and courtroom drama is closer to the combination of horror and courtroom drama is closer to the aforementioned film than its predecessors with those intrepid ghost hunters front and center previously helmed by James Wan.
This time, the supernatural ‘true story’ derives from one of the Warren’s famous cases in 1981. The tormented, alleged Brookfield, CT. landlord murderer Arne Johnson, uses the film’s subtile in response to the accusation placed on him.
Patrick Wilson as ailing, but pragmatic Ed and Vera Farmiga as the telekinetic-like Lorraine are brought on to the defense of Arne (an effective Ruairi O’Connor). Arne was an interloper in the exorcism of David Glatzel (Jullian Hilliard the eight-year old brother of his girlfriend, Debbie (Sarah Catherine Hook).
With an entrance recalling a famous scene from William Friedkin’s The Exorcist in an amusing way a cogent, visceral prologue turns to a search into Satanism and the source of a curse put on the incarcerated Arne.
From this point the screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldnick (The Conjuring 2) packs the narrative to the point where some of the ‘gotcha’ moments staged by Michael Chaves can do only so much. A crawl space beneath the family home, a morgue, an old murder case in the Bay State, and a subterranean altar don’t really do much t the initial spooky ambiance.
An attractive production and the investment of Farmiga and Wilson into the Warrens – devout Roman Catholics – committed to revealing the demonic (purported for their lucrative deals) reaches an unsatisfying conclusion. Due to a frenzied juxtaposition involving a maze of tunnels which that is more exhausting than suspenseful.
Part of the disappointment in this uninspired episode in what is discovered concerns Kastner, a retired priest with dark connection and his daughter known as the Occultist. John Noble and Eugenie Bondurant (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 2) just aren’t that persuasive in regard to how “a master Satanist is not an adversary taken lightly.”
Whether or not you believe in The Warrens – as excerpts from transcripts appear during the end credits scroll — at least Lorraine is determined to keep many drawn on more than faith in a never-ending struggle. Even through the luridly preposterous with whispering and onslaughts. That make you curiously consider if the devil made you watch it.