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July 25, 2021

The latest film in The Conjuring franchise is still about paranormal activity but loses points by not offering something new and innovative.

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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It   ☆☆☆

Staring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O'Connor

Direction: Michael Chaves

The long-awaited third installment of The Conjuring franchise, The Devil Made Me Do It has finally been screened in Pakistan’s cinemas. Like other movies from The Conjuring universe, this iteration is also based on a famous true demonic possession in the small town of Brookfield, Connecticut.

Directed by Michael Chaves and written by James Wan and David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, the movie is the eighth installment from The Conjuring universe.

The film commences with Ed (Patrick Joseph Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga), demonologists, who are documenting the exorcism of 8-year-old David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard). David’s sister’s boyfriend Arne Cheyenne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor) is already sympathetic towards David and tells him while putting him to bed: “Being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared.”

However, in Wan’s stories, demons can be unpredictably powerful and this time through witchcraft a powerful demon is summoned from hell to claim the soul of David. Things quickly get out of hand; seeing the exorcism going haywire, Arne grabs David and invites the demon into himself.

The screenplay is well-thought-out, and to me, it’s the best Conjuring film yet. Director Chaves does deserve applause. All the elements required to create a spooky environment come together while building tension.

The one weakness that can be pointed out though is that the demonic character itself failed to deliver the horrors of the unknown. Instead, there is focus on the battle between good and evil, fighting black magic, and breaking curses.

The heart of the story is the murder Arne commits, which he blames on demonic possession. The onus is now on the Warrens to prove him innocent, by proving the possession did indeed occur.

Although the movie is nerve-racking with horror, there are a few points where so much is happening that the movie loses its ground which bewilders the plot to a point where a viewer might forget which case Ed and Lorraine are actually working to solve.

The well-constructed execution creates a strong ground for storytelling. The demon is much more powerful in this sequel, does well to put the fear of god in the viewer, though the scares aren’t as scary at times.

The story was an insight into Lorraine and Ed’s strengths and how scary their routine practice could be and what it takes to watch, fight and win over demons. The writer has given quite a good room to Lorraine and Ed to express their emotions in the movie; love, fear and care.

In 112 minutes of the movie, Chaves tried to cover all aspects of everyone’s life which made them lose a big opportunity to turn the movie into something new and innovative.

15 minutes into the movie, David’s entire family disappears from the scene and the story starts revolving around the main characters, Ed and Lorraine, whereas Arne is shown shivering and pulsating out of fear of the demon, possibly as a reminder for the audience that the story is still about paranormal activity

Music by the brilliant Joseph Bishara sets the mood and will keep your heart racing. The deliberate darkness in the house plays a pivotal role in constructing a spooky plot.

The movie had predictable jump scares which intensify with the music and great Foley sounds such as the footsteps of the demon reaching Lorraine or Arne.

The effects, soundtracks and cinematography of the movie are well-executed. The Conjuring universe has racked up a lot of fame and fan following with The Conjuring and Annabelle, which set the bar so high that viewers expect something stronger and bigger with follow-up films.

This time the devil made me watch it, but I wonder what will make me watch the next Conjuring film?

Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection

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