The third installment in The Conjuring series leaves something to be desired. Easily the weakest of the three films, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It centers around the well known story of Arne Cheyenne Johnson and his murder defense of “demonic possession”. Unlike the previous Conjuring films, The Devil Made Me Do It is not a “haunted house” film like the others. This one, instead, focuses on a demon and the occultist who summoned it. Oh, and love. There’s a weird focus on love.
For those unfamiliar with the Arne Cheyenne Johnson case, let me enlighten you. Arne Cheyenne Johnson was present at the exorcism of his girlfriend’s younger brother. There, he says, the demon possessing the brother passed on to him. Not too long after, he brutally murdered his landlord. Those that witnessed the incident claimed that Arne was possessed. He was not himself. This led to the Warren’s pushing for “not guilty by reason of Demonic Possession”, the first ever time it was a murder defense in American history. Spoiler alert: this defense did not work (shocker) and Arne Johnson was sentenced to prison where he served 5 years out of his 10 to 20 year sentence.
Now, I say that this film is the weakest of the three because there was not a single moment in the film where I was legitimately frightened or creeped out. With both the original film, and the sequel, there were at least some moments where the suspense was great or I felt uneasy. With this installment, however, that never happened. Was it a bad film? Absolutely not. It was enjoyable. It just didn’t evoke the emotions I am used to having this film series create.
I always struggle with the depictions of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Honestly, I think the films do them a favor and make them not look like the con artists that they are. They become much more likeable when being portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. The chemistry those two actors have is undeniable, which is why, I assume, there was more of an emphasis on their relationship in this film, even if it wasn’t needed. Which, again, I really feel that it wasn’t.
This film’s supporting cast was filled with actors that I thought I knew from other places. Turns out, they all just look like other actors. The supporting cast was good. Ruairi O’Connor, who played Arne Johnson, did a good job. As did Sarah Catherine Hook (Debbie Glatzel), Julian Hilliard (David Glatzel), and Eugenie Bondurant (The Occultist). I was troubled by the fact, though, that The Occultist didn’t really have a reason for targeting those that she did. I mean, the writers have made up so many things for this film series. They couldn’t have made up one more?
Like I said, the film isn’t bad when just being judged by itself. But, it is definitely the weakest in the series. I’m curious to see if they’ll make anymore. Eventually they have to run out of the Warren’s stories, right?