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Cakes Takes on The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It (Movie Review)

Caila went to Meremac-STL for journalism and has been writing for most of her life.

The Devil Made Me

The promotional and theatrical release poster for the Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It.

The promotional and theatrical release poster for the Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It.

The ConjurVerse

One thing that the Conjuring movies and the ConjurVerse movies do well is that they always inspire the viewer to look up information on the cases and possessions that the films are based on. As they are all "based on a true story" to some extent or another, the films tend to have a good balance of scares, a good integration of the true story behind the movie's human elements, possessions, and a love story with Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson's portrayals of Ed and Lorraine Warren! For the unfamiliar, the ConjurVerse consists of 3 movies about the infamous doll Annabelle, a movie about the Latin American folk story of La Llorona, a movie with the Conjuring 2's main villain The Nun, and the now 3 Conjuring movies! They have a very good crafted universe in their own right compared to other cinematic universes, especially for a horror franchise.

Although the ConjurVerse has been long standing for years now, all the 3 main films could be standalone films and still make sense, whereas the side movies are the ones that you NEED to watch the main movies in order to understand them, aside from The Curse of La Llorona. That is something that I have always liked about these films. They make sense! This Ed and Lorraine case was based on a true life court case regarding Arne Johnson murdering his landlord, which I wish the movie focused more on inside the court with the demonic theatrics as a side story almost, since that was the route the movie took anyway. If you're going to go different, go all the way different! In the beginning of the movie you think that this story is going to be more wrapped up in proving to a court of law and the jury that demons and demonic possession exist, like the trailer made it seem.

Arne under control of the demons.

Arne under control of the demons.

The Devil Made Me Do It Case

The Conjuring 3 kicks off immediately with demonic action! A young boy, David, is possessed the moment he and his family move into a house. He is attacked and latched onto by a demonic presence and the Warrens' are there with a priest to exorcise him. Arne, who is the boyfriend of the daughter of the Glatzel family, Debbie Glatzel, offers himself to the demon instead of the little 8 year old boy. The demon obliges and the case begins! Arne is soon attacked with hallucinations and poltergeist-like activities. I like the emphasis the movie puts on the craziness that a person can feel when one is demonically possessed by a demon. You really feel for Arne, especially since he was only trying to do the right thing for his girlfriend's little brother.

Arne is eventually led by his hallucinations on a night in drinking with his girl and his landlord to stab his landlord when he believes he is attacking his girlfriend. He stabs the man 22 times and kills him dead, thus beginning the famous "The Devil Made Me Do It" case. Ed and Lorraine Warren are called back to the family to investigate Arne and what happened while he is being held in jail for his trial. They now have to help Arne's defense attorney to prove his innocence upon the grounds that he was not in his right mind and was possessed by a demon at the time of the killing. The pair have to start from scratch and work together with officers to get what they need in order to successfully help find evidence that Arne was taken over.

Don't Look In The Waterbed

Little 8 year old David moments before he is possessed and cursed.

Little 8 year old David moments before he is possessed and cursed.

The Warrens soon find that the case is linked to a Satanic cult that offers human blood sacrifices to the Devil. The couple also finds out that Arne was not demonically possessed per se, but he was cursed by someone in the cult via a totem in their house in the basement. By the time the Warrens are making headway on the case and connecting dots from another case in the city similar to this one with a totem, Arne is suffering in jail from more visions and hallucinations. I like the ideas and the unknown in this movie. They are scarier than the actual scares to me in this film! Like how while on a visit to jail from Debbie and David, Arne reluctantly reveals that he is still being tormented by the demonic force. David really drives home what it felt like to be under the witch's curse, by saying that it's always cold, being told things, not knowing if your thoughts are your own or not, and having to fight it constantly. The fact that Arne is in a small jail cell trying to fight this thing alone is spine tingling, especially after David's explanation of what it was like.

Lorraine's vision has gotten her to connect with the Occultist, Isla, and see what she is doing to control or harm Arne. Their connection works both ways and while Lorraine put a stop to Isla from having Arne kill himself that night, she has also unintentionally led Isla to their home and back to Ed, who's health is already failing in this film after the demon made him have a heart attack in the beginning of the film during the exorcism. His failing health is actually another good factor added into the movie, as simple tasks are a little bit harder for him, like jogging. She curses the couple as well to complete her ritual to bring forth a demon by death.

The movie has a few predictable moments but they back it up with unpredictable demonic scares that save the moment as a whole. We come to see the witch in totality now and not just in visions of Lorraine. I can say that behind Valak, she is a VERY scary and worthy antagonist for the Warrens. Not only is she human, but she has demonic tricks and witchery on her side as well. She is a compelling and terrifying villain for them. Her backstory and reasoning for the things she does are both cool to see. It stereotypically connects her to the Warrens' investigation but it also gave her more depth than any other big bad we've seen in the ConjurVerse, aside from Annabelle. This is something I would have liked to have seen in the first Conjuring with Bethsheba. Isla has proven herself to be a worthy foe of the Warrens, although I still never understood the correlation between the two cases they investigated in connection with her.

Ed and Lorraine investigating with an officer.

Ed and Lorraine investigating with an officer.

My Final Thoughts...

Three things the Conjuring movies have always been able to succeed at is making the viewer want to look up the cases that these films are based on, portraying Ed and Lorraine Warren as true inseparable soulmates, and making sure the children of the film are competent. David's character was just a catapult for something else to happen to someone else and I wish he had more to do, but I do like that he seemed like a kid, but was still smart! This movie is by no means scarier than any of the other Conjuring films, but I loved the new elements that it dabbled into, like court, love stories, and more human elements like giving us a human villain instead of the intangible demon every film. The music in the film is used wisely as per all the Conjuring movies. The score in the end credits is neck hair raising nightmare fuel.

With the 3 intertwining stories, I think that was one of the ways that you could tell as a movie goer that this wasn't directed by James Wan. The story was confusing sometimes and lost me at some points with its reasoning, but it wasn't bad. It didn't feel like the seamless weaving of the stories that The Conjuring 2 had with the ghost: Bill, Valak and the family's story. You can also tell the change in director because there is far more humor in the movie than in any other Conjuring film. Not so much that it's off putting but it definitely humanizes the characters and grounds the story more. The aspect of two love stories going on at the same time made the story more civilized as well because you really felt the love from the couples. The best way for a character to be endearing is to give the audience a good laugh or cry with them, so this was a move that I liked.

There are a lot of directorial nods to other horror movies by the director, Michael Chaves, some of which are very heavy handed and others make the film more fun for knowing them. It's nice to see this franchise get more to its personality. I liked it. Although it is not the scariest in the Conjuring series, it is better than some of the other weaker ConjurVerse movies and it was well done and a well polished movie. It looked good, if nothing else. The producers and directors do take care of those movies more than the others. The stories are usually better, the movies are more comprehensible and they connect the Warren's to everything that happens in this universe. This is definitely the weakest movie of the three, but it does stand well on its own with its own elements that make the movie different from the other two typical possession movies.

Actors, Actresses, and Production!

The teams of people that help put the Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It together!

Actors/ActressesProduction TeamsProduction Companies

Patrick Wilson

Michael Chaves (Director)

New Line Cinema (Production Company)

Vera Farmiga

James Wan (Producer and Story Writer)

The Safran Company (Production Company)

Ruairi O'Connor

Peter Safran (Producer)

Atomic Monster Productions (Production Company)

Sarah Catherine Hook

David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (Story writer)

Warner Bros. Pictures (Distribution Company)

Julian Hilliard

Joseph Bishara (Music)

John Noble

Michael Burgess (Cinematographer)

Eugenie Boudarant

Peter Gvozdas (Editor)

Christian Wagner (Editor)

This movie is a Gem!

The Conjuring 3 Movie Poll

Where You Can Watch...

  • HBO Max
    Say hello to HBO Max, the streaming platform that bundles all of HBO together with even more of your favorite movies and TV series, plus new Max Originals.


Mark Devoll on June 17, 2021:

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Thanks! It's up now. Thanks for the twitter follow too!

Caila Daniels (author) from Chicago on June 17, 2021:

Yours will be amazing, I'm sure! It's a lot to discuss within the movie and that leads into the Shining and how that all went down. It's so much content for one movie really to unpack! But it's such a good sequel! I had so many good things to say about it. I'm reading yours when you post it!

Mark Devoll on June 16, 2021:

I just finished Doctor Sleep Director's Cut, I'll have to write about it, but I doubt it will be as good as yours :D

Caila Daniels (author) from Chicago on June 16, 2021:

Yeah I actually watch The Shining for the very first time last year! It's amazing! Stanley works his actors to the bone and probably traumatizes them for life, but for an excellent film.

Mark Devoll on June 15, 2021:

Sweet! I will check out your review. I saw the theatrical cut when it came out and really liked it. I just reviewed The Shining, one of the all-time greats.

Caila Daniels (author) from Chicago on June 15, 2021:

I actually recently did a review on Doctor Sleep! I thought it was a great sequel. The perfect sequel really actually! I love that movie. It made me want to read the books of the Shining and the Doctor Sleep book!

Mark Devoll on June 15, 2021:

All of The Conjuring franchise is on HBO Max right now, I did a complete re-watch before part 3. Now, on to Doctor Sleep Director's Cut!

Caila Daniels (author) from Chicago on June 15, 2021:

So did I! I liked that it was a more grounded approach to what they do as demonologists and changing up the pattern of attacks in a sense. Overall, enjoyable film. I might watch it once again before it leaves HBO Max.

Mark Devoll on June 14, 2021:

I enjoyed this article and I'm glad you liked the movie. I felt it was a bit of a step down from the previous films but I appreciate that they went in a different direction with a human antagonist instead of just a haunted house. Keep up the great work!

Nirya77 on June 10, 2021:

Very well written. Xoxo

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