With this “Conjuring” we have a whodunit mystery, a demonic possession, and our paranormal saviors, The Warrens.
Once again, we set out with Paranormal investigators Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson, Insidious) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel), as they take on one of the most sensational cases of their careers in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021). A cop stumbles upon a dazed and bloodied young man walking down the road. Accused of murder, the suspect claims demonic possession as his defense, forcing the Warrens into a supernatural inquiry unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. This is the set-up for the supernatural horror film and third installment in The Conjuring series of films. Michael Chaves is a return director to the universe, having directed The Curse of La Llorona (2019). While James Wan takes a backseat as a producer and story creator.
As someone who gets excited about new paranormal and true crime documentary series almost daily, I’m an enthusiastic follower of the Conjuring Universe. I’m fascinated by stories that are in some way rooted in reality and, according to the Warrens, these are. James Wan has carefully crafted that universe with the help of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s legacy of case files, documenting their paranormal investigations. Lorraine actually wrote a book about the case of 11-year-old David Glatzel, The Devil in Connecticut with Gerald Brittle. The Glatzel family have conflicting accounts of the alleged possession of David Glatzel. David and his brother Carl Glatzel actually filed a lawsuit in 2007 against Brittle and the Warrens, after the book was republished in 2006, claiming it was libelous.
So, how did I feel about the film? Like many horror fans, after the trailer for The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It was released, I was elated to have a story that took us inside the courtroom. I wanted to discover just how Arne Cheyenne Johnson and his lawyer with a plea of not guilty by reason of demonic possession, argued and walked away with a mere 10-20 year sentence for manslaughter for the death of Alan Bono. Johnson ended up serving only five years for good behavior, marrying Debbie Glatzel, and living happily ever after.
I’m sad to say, we didn’t get the horror infused court-room drama many of us hoped for. In its place, is an occultist whodunit, glorifying the Warrens as the Saviors of the day and tossing in a few demonic possessions for good measure. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It has a strong first act, beginning with the possession and attempted exorcism of David Glatzel. However, it quickly plunges into a narrative that is more focused on the Warrens and their love story conquering all than the murder victim or the possessed parties. The true story that inspired this embellished cinematic experience is more interesting than the film itself.
The film is worth watching, and I’d do it again. While I had high expectations that weren’t met, this is not a bad film, however outlandish the story seems to be. If you enjoy horror wrapped in a murder mystery and served on thick, this super-national thriller is probably one you’ll enjoy. I won’t pretend that it didn’t leave me questioning whether the supposed true story is an absolute ruse, but according to Debbie Glatzel and Arne Johnson, every word of the Warrens account of his possession is true.
Check out the official trailer for “The Conjuring 3!”