Movie Review: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

June 6, 2021

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email:

The third installment of The Conjuring Franchise, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, has now opened in theaters and landed on HBO Max. Here’s what I think.
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return to their roles as the famous real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, which explores the real store of Arne Johnson, which marked the first time in U.S. history that used a demonic possession as a defense in a real murder trial.
Consider this your warning, there are mild spoilers ahead.
While we’ve known about the film’s plot for a while now, there were surprises in store for fans with many aspects of the story (both real and created) kept under wraps, such as the curse. For that we thank them. I hate watching a film that’s already been spoiled to death in trailers and by advertising campaigns.
I’m guessing you’re wondering if it’s scary. The answer is yes. There are a lot of suspenseful moments, and a ton of jump scares, which we’ve come to expect from the franchise. Is it scarier than the first two? No. Like I said, we’ve come to expect certain things from the franchise which puts us on guard from the beginning. While it wasn’t terrifying, I did find the story more elevated than those in previous installments. More complex, the movie delivers a story with more emotions and an interesting mystery.
Of course, there’s another thing we’ve come to expect from the franchise, great special effects, and The Devil Made Me Do It goes big between the exorcism scenes, Lorraine’s visions, and the satanic props. The scene with the young boy contorting during one of the exorcisms is creepy AF and got under my skin.
The best makeup was that of the giant naked dead man controlled by the mysterious woman. That dude was nasty. The only thing worse than an animated corpse charging at you is a naked one.
Vera Farmiga put her whole heart into playing Lorraine and it shows. She delivers so much intensity.  Patrick Wilson did well as usual and his health problems add tension. I was very impressed by Ruairi O’Connor as Arne. He really captured the pain and fear that his character was experiencing. He was believable and never went over the top which is a tough thing to balance in a horror film.
Fans are noticing that the movie has a bit of a different feel and look. That’s due to the fact that James Wan didn’t direct like he did with the previous films. This time around, Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona) was at the helm.  And no, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Chaves is a talented director but when you’ve become accustomed to one director’s style and suddenly get a different one, it will affect the quality of the film.
As for it being based on a true story, there are a few differences between what really happened and what was changed for the movie.  Of course, the part of the story about the curse was completely fabricated. Arne’s lawyer was a man in real life, not a woman. Also, Arne was found walking the road at night, not during daylight like in the film. The cop also never pulled a gun on him. The scene where the windows were blown out in the jail never happened. I don’t care how sick someone is, the jail would not let a woman in to hang out by a prisoner’s bedside like in the movie. Also, the judge never accepted the possession plea. In the real trial, Arne’s lawyer tried it, but in the end, Arne entered a plea of self-defense. Of course, things had to be changed in the film to make things more dramatic, I guess.
So, here’s my verdict. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a nice addition to the franchise. While it’s not terrifying, it does provide a few scares, but more importantly, it has an interesting story that will keep viewers invested from beginning to end. It is by no means the best of the franchise, but it’s not terrible and should definitely be seen.

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