It's the third trip to the well for The Conjuring movies, and the formula is beginning to peter out. This is not a bad horror film, but it is definitely the weakest of the three. Still, it is better than some of The Conjuring spin-offs like Annabelle: Creation or The Nun.
As usual, the horror film opens with the phony baloney "based on a true story" card, and then we are off to the races. Married paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are in the middle of a savage exorcism of a little boy named David (Julian Hilliard). During the frenzy, Ed suffers a heart attack and, before he falls unconsciousness, he sees the demon jump from David to David's brother-in-law, Arne Johnson (Ruairi O'Connor). Some days later, Arne murders his obnoxious landlord. In court, the Warrens come to his defense that "the Devil made him do it" because he was possessed by a demon.
The movie doesn't turn into a courtroom thriller, and that is unfortunate, because that would have been kind of interesting for this series. The main portion of the film is the Warrens searching for someone who is conjuring up demons to possess people.
The Conjuring 3 just doesn't have the scares and sense of dread of the first two. Maybe it's the fact that this one has a different director. James Wan (Saw, Insidious) sits this one out and hands the reins over to second time feature director Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona). I like that this one isn't simply a haunted house again, but we get a lot of the same old scenes of someone walking around in the dark seemingly waiting for something terrible to pop out at them.
This is a mild but still entertaining Conjuring movie. I will say that Farmiga and Wilson make this film fun to watch because they both give it their all.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is currently in theaters and also streaming on HBO Max.
** ½ stars (out of four)