The evolving horror genre has taken many different forms in recent years. Visionary directors Ari Aster and Guillermo Del Toro redefine the genre with each film they make. Last year even saw contemporary horror flipped on its head through Host, a Covid-friendly séance thriller filmed entirely over zoom. Studios are always finding new and inventive ways to thrill audiences worldwide, but one thing that remains a constant force in this genre is James Wan’s The Conjuring series.
The third instalment in this series, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, is based on the real-life trial of Arne Johnson, a young man charged with a murder he claims to have been the work of the Devil. Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren must attempt to find proof of not only the existence of the devil, but his role in this crime. The dynamic duo of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return to portray the famous Warren couple, with assistance from the talented youthful cast consisting of Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hillard and Sterling Jerins. Young Irish star Ruairi O’Connor has also earned praise for his petrifying role, in which he battles a demonic possession, while trying to cling onto his remaining humanity.
The story itself takes a different form to the other Conjuring thrillers. Fear is replaced with mystery, as veteran director James Wan supplies his audience with an investigative crime/horror drama, instead of an all-out scare-fest. There are still moments that will have the audience shaking in their seats, but Wan’s approach seems to be more cautious, opting to prioritize the engrossing story, rather than create a mainstream horror flick. This refreshing change of pace is enough to revitalize the franchise and keep die-hard fans invested to see what comes next.
The paranormal story is loosely followed, but most on-screen events seem far-fetched and hard to follow. The already interesting story is fascinating enough as it is, but the additions made to the plot result in unnecessary confusion. The elaborate script is hard to grasp, but never dull. Every scene is full of purpose, which could be overwhelming to some viewers, but many will love this action packed, spirited screenplay.
The third instalment in this widely popular series is as energizing as the first Conjuring film. This new look Wan sequel may be a shock to some who were expecting an all-out, spine-chilling horror, but the supernatural thriller that was produced is not only fascinating, but possibly a new step in the right direction for this franchise.
Movie By Felix Baldassi-Winderlich