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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is an 2021 American supernatural horror film directed by Michael Chaves, with a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick from a story by Johnson-McGoldrick and James Wan. It is the sequel to The Conjuring 2 and the eighth installment in The Conjuring Universe. Wan and Peter Safran return to produce the film, which is based on the trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, a murder trial that took place in 1981 Connecticut, in addition to The Devil in Connecticut, a book about the trial written by Gerald Brittle. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their roles as paranormal investigators and authors Ed and Lorraine Warren, with Ruairi O'Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, and Julian Hilliard also starring.

The film was released on May 26, 2021 in the United Kingdom and on June 4, 2021 in the United States.

Synopsis

The Devil Made Me Do It reveals a chilling story of terror, murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. One of the most sensational cases from their files, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they'd ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defense.

Plot

In 1981, demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren document the exorcism of 8-year-old David Glatzel, attended by his family, his sister Debbie, and her boyfriend Arne Johnson, and Father Gordon in the town of Brookfield, Connecticut. During the exorcism, Arne Cheyenne Johnson invites the demon to enter his body instead of David's. Ed witnesses the demon transport itself from David's body to Arne's whilst he suffers from a heart attack, and is taken to a hospital in an unconscious state.

Ed wakes up at the hospital and reveals to Lorraine that he witnessed the demon enter Arne's body. She sends the police to the Glatzel household and warns them that a tragedy will occur there. Arne and Debbie return to their apartment located above a kennel where Debbie works. After feeling unwell, Arne murders his landlord, Bruno Sauls, by stabbing him 22 times under the influence of demonic possession. With the support of the Warrens, his case becomes the first American murder trial to claim demonic possession as a defense, resulting in the beginning of an investigation into David's original possession. The Warrens later discover a satanic curse passed on through a witch’s totem, and meet with Kastner, a former priest who previously dealt with the Disciples of the Ram cult. He tells them that an occultist had intentionally left the totem, resulting in the creation of a curse on the Glatzels, causing the possession of David.

The Warrens travel to Danvers, Massachusetts, to investigate the death of Katie Lincoln, who was also stabbed 22 times. Detectives had found a totem at the home of Katie's friend Jessica, who is missing. Lorraine initiates a vision to recreate the murder and discovers that Jessica had stabbed Katie under the influence of demonic possession, before jumping to her death off of a cliff, which allows detectives to recover her body. The Warrens travel to the funeral home where her body rests and Lorraine touches the hand of the corpse to help find the location of the occultist. Lorraine, in a vision, witnesses the occultist attempting to have Arne kill himself but stops her just in time. Lorraine is threatened by the occultist and she tells Ed that the connection works both ways.

The Warrens return to their house in Connecticut to investigate further. Drew gives a book of Stregherian witchcraft he found to Ed, and states that in order for the curse to be lifted, the altar in which the occultist operates must be destroyed. When they realize Katie attended nearby Fairfield University, they begin to assume the occultist is operating in the area. Lorraine returns to Kastner for help, and he reveals that he had raised a daughter in violation of the requirement of clerical celibacy in the Catholic Church. He tells Lorraine that during his research, her fascination for the occult grew, later becoming the occultist. Kastner gives Lorraine access to the tunnels where she locates the altar and is then found by the occultist, who then kills him. Ed soon arrives and finds his way into the tunnels through a locked drain hole with a sledgehammer. He is briefly possessed by the demon and attempts to kill Lorraine, but she retells him of the time they first met, reminding him of their love. Ed regains his consciousness and destroys the altar, saving himself, Lorraine and Arne. The occultist arrives at her broken altar, only to be killed by the demon she had summoned, after failing to complete the curse.

Ed places the cup from the altar in their room of artifacts, along with the Valak painting and the Annabelle doll. Arne is convicted of manslaughter but ends up serving only five years of his sentence, after marrying Debbie while in prison. Ed shows Lorraine a replica of the gazebo in which they first met.

Cast

Main

Minor

Production

Development

In 2016, regarding further potential sequels, James Wan stated, "There could be many more [Conjuring] movies because the Warrens have so many stories." Screenwriters Chad and Carey W. Hayes also expressed interest in working on a story for another sequel. However, Wan stated that he may be unable to direct the film due to his commitments to other projects. He told Collider, "Assuming we are lucky enough to have a third chapter, there are other filmmakers that I would love to sort of continue on the Conjuring world, if we are lucky enough". Wan also noted that, if a third film were to be made, it would ideally take place in the 1980s. Wan later stated that the sequel could include lycanthropy, "Maybe we can go and do it like a classic American Werewolf in London style. [...] The Warrens set against the backdrop of The Hound of Baskerville". In May 2017, Safran said it would be unlikely that a third installment would be a "haunted house" film.

In June 2017, it was announced a third installment was in development, with The Conjuring 2 co-writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick hired to write the screenplay. In August 2017, Wan told Entertainment Weekly that the filmmakers have "been working hard on The Conjuring 3 ", and that "we're in the midst of working on the script, and still hashing [it] out. We want to make sure that the script is in a really good place. With how much people have loved the first two [Conjuring films], I don't want to rush in to the third one if possible." By September of the following year, producer Peter Safran stated that the script was near completion and that production would begin sometime during 2019. In May 2019, it was revealed that James Wan co-wrote the story with David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick.

Pre-Production

In October 2018, it was announced that The Conjuring 3 would not be directed by Wan, but instead would be directed by The Curse of La Llorona director Michael Chaves. Wan stated that he was impressed while working with him on The Curse of La Llorona. In December 2018, Wan confirmed the film's plot details. Wan spoke with Bloody Disgusting, saying, "I think it's the first time in America's history where the defendant used possessions as a reason, as an excuse." In October 2019, Joseph Bishara—who composed the scores for The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Conjuring 2, The Curse of La Llorona and Annabelle Comes Home—was confirmed to be returning to score this third Conjuring film. In December 2019, the film's official title, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, was revealed.

Casting

In December 2018, it was confirmed that Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga would reprise their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren respectively from The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2. In August 2019, actress Megan Ashley Brown announced that she and Mitchell Hoog would portray young Lorraine and Ed Warren respectively. In December 2019, Sterling Jerins, Julian Hilliard, Sarah Catherine Hook and Ruairi O'Connor were all confirmed as part of the film's cast by director Chaves.

Filming

Filming began on June 3, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia. On August 15, 2019, Farmiga announced that she had finished filming her scenes. Additional photography was initially scheduled for April 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During reshoots, Chaves opted to remove a demonic antagonist, played by Davis Osbourne. The character was supposed to be working with The Occultist, but Chaves believed it "just wasn't quite connecting", and instead gave Osbourne a role as an infirmary patient. John Noble's role was also expanded upon during reshoots.

Release

Theatrical and Streaming

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It was released in the United Kingdom on May 26, 2021, and in the United States on June 4, 2021, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema. In the United States, as part of its plans for all of its 2021 films, Warner Bros. will also stream The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It simultaneously on the HBO Max service for a period of one month, after which the film will be removed from the service until the normal home media release schedule period. It was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on theaters and the film industry, after previously being scheduled to be released on September 11, 2020. The film was re-added to HBO Max on October 21, 2021.

Home Media

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It was released on Digital HD on July 23, 2021, and was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and Ultra HD Blu-ray by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on August 24, 2021, under the title The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It.

Reception

Box Office

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It grossed $65.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $136.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $202 million.

In the United States, the film was released alongside Spirit Untamed, and was projected to gross $15–20 million from 3,100 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $9.8 million on its first day, increasing estimates to $25–27 million. It ended up debuting to $24 million, the second-lowest of the Conjuring Universe but still marking the third-best opening of the pandemic and topped the box office. The film fell 57% to $10.3 million in its sophomore weekend, finishing third, then $5.2 million in its third weekend.

Critical Response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 55% of 240 critic reviews for the film are positive, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "The Devil Made Me Do It represents a comedown for the core Conjuring films, although Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson keep the audience invested." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 53 out of 100 based on 39 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale (down from the "A-" grade of the first two films), while PostTrak reported 78% of audience members gave it a positive score, with 58% saying they would definitely recommend it.

Carlos Aguilar of the TheWrap wrote: "The Devil Made Me Do It opens with a disturbing sequence, set in 1981, that stands as the scariest part of the supernatural saga to date. That's not to say that the nearly two hours that ensue are devoid of tension and well-paced jump scares, but the sheer chaos and malevolence on display right out of the gate are unmatched elsewhere." In his review for Variety, Owen Gleiberman praised the performances of Wilson and Farmiga but wrote: "The new film lacks that kinetic haunted-house element. It's the most somber and meditative and least aggressive of the Conjuring films." From The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney said: "This one offers plenty of lurid fun and some genuine scares. But the grounding in dark spirituality that made the previous entries focused on the Warrens so compelling gets diluted, despite the reliably dignifying double-act of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson."

Lena Wilson of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, stating that "'The Devil Made Me Do It' is an excellently spooky work of fiction. It would be even better if it privileged ghoulishness over gospel." Hanna Flint of Empire wrote "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It hits some major horror notes, with Wilson and Farmiga providing much needed heart and soul, but the new Satanic worship elements causes the franchise to take a farcical turn."

Joshua Rivera of Polygon said that "This setup makes this installment of The Conjuring feel like a supernatural detective film ... It's a pretty good idea, and a decent change of pace for the series. But The Devil Made Me Do It struggles to reach the highs of the previous movies under this new structure." Tom Jorgensen of IGN rated the film a 6 out of 10, concluding that "Though The Devil Made Me Do It is a smart recalibration for The Conjuring series, its successes have little to do with its strengths as a standalone horror movie" and that "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is greater than the sum of its parts and functions best in how it opens the series up to new kinds of stories to tell in the future."

Trivia

  • Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes, co-writers of The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, did not return to write.
  • The working title of the movie was plainly The Conjuring 3. However, later it was changed to The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It as a direct reference to the infamous 1981 Arne Johnson trial.
  • Lorraine Warren, played by Vera Farmiga in the The Conjuring movies died a natural death aged 92, on April 18 2019. She had been a head consultant on all of The Conjuring projects, and an avid follower of the series.
  • The Glatzel family had two other sons not depicted in the film. Alan age 14 and Carl Glatzel Jr age 15. Carl Glatzel Jr has denounced the Warrens as frauds and stated that his brother David actually suffered from mental illness.
  • James Wan remarked that with The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, they wanted to get out of the haunted house setup which was the subgenre of the previous two films. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) takes a major turn in this regard.
  • The movie shares the same length with The Conjuring (2013), which is 112 minutes.

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