This week on "Justin Hall At The Movies," I'll be reviewing the Warrens as they investigate more demonic activity in "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It."
The Conjuring Universe has had many twists and turns just like the stories that have inspired the series, but The Devil Made Me Do It might indicate a decline in quality.
For my money, it has too many plot threads that meander rather than come together in a cohesive fashion and the scares are virtually nonexistent. If it weren't for Patrick Wilson's and Vera Farmiga's earnest, committed performances, this would've been worse.
Wilson and Farmiga return as Ed and Lorraine Wilson, the married couple who are also experts in demonic and supernatural occurrences.
Based on a true story in 1981, they try to perform an exorcism on a young boy which goes successfully, but the demonic transports itself into the boy's older brother (Ruiari O'Connor). The now-possessed brother named Arne then commits murder and is held on trial and facing the death penalty unless the Warrens can prove otherwise.
I mentioned that this movie has plot threads that don't come together and one of them involves a totem that helps Lorraine see how a previously similar murder took place and a book on witchcraft that has a spell on which all the demonic activity can be stopped. These MacGuffins only further needlessly complicate the story and leave more questions than answers.
As for the scares, there are almost none to be found as we know just about each time a demonic is going to peek out and terrorize someone and there's no sense of menace or suspense.
The first two Conjuring movies satisfied audience's craving of original horror that was grounded in reality, but the follow-ups seem to drift further and further into the realm of pretentiousness.
The Devil Made Me Do It isn't Hell on Earth, but it does leave the series in franchise purgatory.
(Rated R for violence, terror, and some disturbing images.)