Are the scares in the series third outing conjured for the screen or is truth stranger than fiction?
The Conjuring The Devil Made Me Do It starts with a bang. The thrilling exorcism that begins the film makes for a terrific and pulsepounding opening scene. Its properly spooky and chock full of all the disturbing imagery and contorting limbs that youd expect in an exorcism sequence and puts the audience in the right frame of mind for another journey through the fearsome frights of a Conjuring film. Its capably directed by Michael Chaves The Curse of La Llorona with some truly great shots and sequences one featuring Lorraine physically reenacting a murder in a shadowed forest is particularly stunning but the scares are a little light this go around. The film never quite reaches the tension and carefully crafted horrors of its beginning.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga turn in predictably wonderful and committed performances as Ed and Lorraine Warren respectively but the case that theyre called to investigate this time around doesnt have as strong of an emotional tie to the Warrens relationship or Lorraines religious faith like in The Conjuring 2 leaving the proceedings feeling a little emotionally hollow.
All the signature Conjuring imagery is there spooky passages ancient Satanic artifacts chilling rituals and Lorrains psychic visions among others that let the viewer slide easily back into the franchise. The story at the center of the film is a fascinating one and it would have been a welcome addition to have the film place an even stronger focus on Ed and Lorraine building a deeper relationship with Arne. Regardless its always nice to see the pair back onscreen and their crackling chemistry is more than enough reason to give The Conjurings third outing a watch.
This time around the film leaves the 70s behind in favor of a story set in 1981 that revolves around Ed and Lorraine assisting with the exorcism of 8yearold David Glatzel in Connecticut. During the exorcism in a lastditch attempt to save Davids life his sisters boyfriend Arne invites the demon to enter his body instead.
David is ultimately spared from the demons grasp and all seems to be well and reverts back to normal…until a month later when Arne mysteriously blacks out and murders his landlord. Having no memory of the incident Arne and the Warrens believe that Davids demon actually did enter Arnes body during Davids exorcism. This leads the Warrens to investigate the root cause of Davids and Arnes possession in order to prove that Arne truly wasnt to blame and spare him from the legal ramifications that sprout from a murder charge.
The Conjuring universe is no stranger to taking the Warrens reallife case files and adapting them for the screen. The Conjuring featured the true haunting of the Perron family in a Rhode Island farmhouse by the spirit of a woman Bathsheba who had been rumored to be a Satanist. It was a true story albeit with some added Hollywood twists and flourishes. A few years later The Conjuring 2 involved the case of the Hodgson family who were being tormented by poltergeist activity in Enfield England.
While there was no reallife exorcism like in the film family and sworn witnesses did experience multiple instances of flying objects moving furniture and flickering lights before the haunting abruptly stopped. Even Conjuring spinoff Annabelle features part of the true story of a nursing student who was given the doll that switches positions and leaves her handwritten notes on old parchment paper. While these films were based on true stories and featured plotlines that were more or less based on the Warrens actual case files spinoff films like The Nun are not based on the Warrens investigations or true hauntings.
Is The Conjuring The Devil Made Me Do It based on a true story?
Both Arne Johnson and David Glatzel are real people. According to the Glatzel family then11yearold David Glatzel truly was possessed by a demon. After witnessing David hissing speaking in strange voices being choked by an invisible pair of hands and sustaining mysterious bruises and marks on his body they enlisted the help of the Warrens along with a handful of Catholic priests to participate in multiple exorcisms. The process continued for days until it concluded when according to those present at the final exorcism the alleged demon fled Davids body and invaded Arnes.
Months later during lunch at Debbies work Arne and Debbies landlord arrived drunk and began harrassing the women present. Arne eventually intervened growling like an animal according to his sister Wanda while he stabbed his landlord multiple times killing him in the process. After Arne was apprehended his defense lawyer attempted to use demonic possession as a defense the first American murder trial to do so but the judge stated that it was off the table due to lack of evidence to prove demonic interference. Arne and his legal team were left to argue that Arne acted in selfdefense making the jury unable to consider demonic possession as a reason for Arnes actions even if they believed it to be the truth.
Ultimately Arne was found guilty of firstdegree manslaughter and sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison but only served five. Arne and Debbie got married while Arne was in prison and they later had two children. They remained married until Debbies recent death from cancer. While The Conjuring The Devil Made Me Do It takes severe artistic license with the story by adding details such as a subplot involving a former priest whos an expert in the occult and a Satanist who has purposefully placed a curse upon the Glatzel family the essential story elements such as Davids exorcisms Arnes killing of his landlord his trial and the Warrens involvement with the case are factual.