<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 17, 2021



‘THE CONJURING 3: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT’ is the third film in the franchise after “Conjuring 1” (2013) and “Conjuring 2” (2016), both directed by horror master James Wan (who also helmed the blockbuster “Aquaman”). 

This would have been released last year yet but the pandemic delayed its showing. 

Part 3 is now directed by Michael Chaves, who helmed “La Llorona”, one of the many films that are spin offs from “The Conjuring” series, along with “Annabelle 1 and 2” and “The Nun”. 

The first two films were about haunted houses; first in America, then in England. 

Part 3 is said to be based on the true story of Arne Cheyenne Johnson who killed someone in a small town in Connecticut in 1981. His defense was that he was under demonic possession when the killing happened. 

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return again to reprise their roles as husband and wife paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. 

The movie’s ten minute opening pre-title sequence serves as a prologue showing the Warrens exorcising an 8-year old boy, David Glatzel (Julian Hillard). 

This pays homage to the original “The Exorcist” with the iconic shot of the priest standing in front of the accursed house. 

The prologue is an effective scary sequence as the boy is shown possessed by a very strong and violent demon that causes Ed to have a heart attack, so he has to take pills all throughout the movie. 

Arne (Ruairi O’Connor), the boyfriend of David’s sister, Debbie (Sarah Hook), intervenes and grabs David, imploring the demon to take him instead of the little boy. Everything quiets down and the disabled Ed is taken to the hospital. 

But it soon becomes obvious that the evil inside the boy has granted Arne’s request as it now hounds him. 

It possesses him in a blood-soaked scene, to the tune of Blondie’s bubbly song “Call Me”, where he kills Bruno (Ronnie Blevins), their rowdy drunken landlord in a dog kennel (he deserves it, if you’d ask us), stabbing him 22 times. 

He is jailed and faces trial, with the Warrens helping defend him on the excuse that he is under demonic possession when he did the killing. We don’t know if their strategy worked in real life but, in the movie, it did. 

Looks like the Warrens are more effective than “X Files” Scully and Mulder in fighting the judicial system to demonstrate the existence of the devil despite everyone’s skpeticisim.

As maybe expected, the movie offers some jump scares that are expected by viewers of scary fims. The one really effective for us  involves the boy David and a waterbed. 

It starts with him seeing a face under the water bed then something more jolting happens. 

Other uncanny scenes involve the clairvoyant Lorraine’s encounter with rats while creeping under the Glatzell’s cursed house and her reenactment of a grisly crime involving two missing young girls. 

But they’re not as spooky as the waterbed scene. They also borrowed heavily from the original “Exorcist”, like David contorting his limbs and body, doing the backward spider walk that Linda Blair did.

The lengthy climax happens on two different fronts. First is in the hospital jail where Arne battles with the evil inside of him. It is forcing him to kill himself while his girlfriend Debbie urges him to fight it. 

The second front is in the underground lair of an obsessed witch who turns out to be true main villain and has put a menacing curse on both Arne and Ed. 

The witch has made Ed blind and has possessed him so he’d smash everything in front of him, including Lorraine.  His wife also urges Ed to remember her, so he can succeed in combatting the witch and destroy its altar offered to devil worship. It will be an easy to guess who triumphs in the end.

The movie sort of offers a romantic resolution in that the love of Debbie for Arne and of Lorraine for Ed helped tremendously in rescuing their partners from the clutches of the evil witch. 

This is the reason why, for the first time in the series, we are given a back story showing a flashback of how Ed and Lorraine met and fell in love when they were still teenagers. It aims to affirm the intensity of their love for each other.

But “Conjuring 3” shows that the third time is not necessarily the charm. It has the requisite sinister atmospherics that might please “Conjuring” diehard fans, but fails to achieve the spookiness of the first two films that bank mainly on things that go bump in the night. 

We understand they want to deviate from their usual haunted house setting that can be quite confining, but by opening up their setting, they seem to have lost sight of what makes their movies more eerie with a white knuckle sensibility in the first place. 

We think it’s ill conceived that the possession here of David and Arne is actually caused by the curse cast by Isla (Eugenie Bondurant), the satanist daughter of a former priest, Fr. Kastner (John Noble.)  

She is a member of a cult called Disciple’s of the Ram but she looks more like a not so distant cousin of Balak, The Nun. She’s the one who sends the evil occult totems as a hex to her would be victims.

As the film’s chief villain, she is rather disappointing and the Warrens’ confrontation with her is not as terrifying and frightening as their fight with unseen evil forces in the first two movies. 

But there’s no denying the franchise has its ace in getting Wilson and Farmiga to play the Warrens. They were villains in Liam Neeson’s “The Commuter”, but as Ed and Lorraine, they exude genuine care and affection for each other and they’re both very efficient in the roles they play. 

Wilson is the real Hollywood horror king, being in two successful horror franchises, “Conjuring” and “Insidious”. 

Also a singer, we remember him playing Raoul in the film version of “Phantom of the Opera”. 

Farmiga is one actress we really admire, specially for her portrayal of the deranged Norma Bates in “Bates Motel”, the TV series spin off from “Psycho”. If we’d encounter someone possessed, we’d recommend Ms. Farmiga to help solve the case as she seems so very effective.