Stepping away from the haunted house style that we’ve seen in the first two movies, The Devil Made Me Do It is based on the horrific court story of Arne Cheyenne Johnson. After he killed his landlord in 1981, Arne wanted to prove his innocence by claiming that he was possessed during the violent altercation. It was a major documented media event in the US at the time, simply because nothing like this had ever happened before. At the centre of all of this, attempting to help Arne is none other than the legendary paranormal investigators, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga).
After a whirlwind introduction that fans of The Exorcist will really appreciate, and discovering that Arne has been cursed, our paranormal duo goes on a trip through demonic obsession, in a race against time to try and support his alibi. Battling against The Occultist (Eugenie Bondurant), they march through psychotic mind games and nightmarish monsters to find answers. Between the court case plot, that Ruairi O'Connor holds up well, and those popcorn-throwing scares that The Conjuring fans are now used to coming from The Occultist, The Devil Made Me Do It quickly becomes a fun and intriguing horror. We also get a look into the history of our paranormal heroes, which firmly connects the trilogy.
Alongside sleek acting work from the core cast members, it would criminal to not mention John Noble’s take on Kastner. Just like we’ve seen John do in shows like Fringe, his character dances around crucial answers, that the audience wants, right up until the time is exactly right.
Looking at the bonus features, there’s a section of small (A die-hard fan might be after a little bit more content), but informative interviews from the main cast and crew. From directors Michael Chaves and James Wan, right through to the acting leads themselves it’s a quick look at what happened behind the scenes. Potentially, the most interesting part is when we see the real-life Arne Johnson and his late wife Debbie Glatzel, who both explain that surreal story, and what it was like to be involved with this project. Also, the audio comic and content about how the exorcism opening came together, add more background to what you’ve watched.
It’s obvious that Michael Chaves has really tried to do something different in this third outing. Instead of playing it safe by repeating that tried and tested Conjuring formula (Which works well!) he has given us a twisted, paranormal adventure that focuses on a savage, real-life court case, that also puts our leads in unfamiliar, yet testing terrain. After an ending that echoes The Shining, and once those unsettling credits finish, you might well find yourself further researching this huge paranormal universe, and of course, the Arne Johnson case itself. Many franchises are known for struggling on that third movie, but because of The Devil Made Me Do It, we now have another fantastic horror trilogy.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital now.