While us horror fans are always loyal to the genre regardless of box office receipts, it never stops being awesome when a film becomes a financial hit. The Conjuring came out less than ten years ago and has already spawned several spinoffs, some received better than others, but all of them were hits. Utilizing the “based on a true story” gimmick, audiences have embraced these fictionalized accounts. They all have similar setups, but demons jumping out of the shadows never gets old for me as I sat down to watch THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT.
THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT centers around the first known murder trial blamed on demonic possession. It opens with the Warrens documenting the exorcism of an 8-year-old boy. While the boy lives free, the demon possesses the body of a teenaged boy who ends up killing one of his friends. What ensues is the Warrens investigating what led to the child’s original possession, which leads to discoveries of totems and possible witchcraft.
While I agree this is not one of the best in the franchise, I actually enjoyed THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT. It has everything I love: occults, curses, murder mysteries, and memorable jump scares. Part of the success is also due to the chemistry between the leads. While the real-life Ed and Lorraine didn’t exactly leave behind the best legacy, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are gifted actors who make fans cheer for their love story. Here, they are a team again and probably one of the best cinematic examples of relationship goals in horror. What the film lacks is focus. It jumps all over the place with its many subplots, but could’ve benefitted from spending more time with the murder trial. While not new to film, that subject matter would have felt fresh to the franchise.
Whatever your opinion is of The Conjuring films, there’s no denying these home video releases have incredible sound design. THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT is the first Conjuring film to receive a 4K release, not including the spinoffs. These movies are huge box office hits so I’m not sure why the previous two have not gotten the ultra-high-definition treatment.
The subwoofer kicks into heavy gear with the opening exorcism sequence, wind billows across all the rear speakers. The 4K presentation does what it needs to do and nothing more. The film itself is pretty dark and almost a grim sepia tone at times.
Like the previous films, there are a handful of special features, but (also like the previous films) they are only a few minutes long. The most interesting one being “By Reason of Demonic Possession,” which is a way too brief account of the actual events that occurred. It comes off as exploitive, and would help sell the disc better if it played out like a true-crime documentary. No commentaries are included, which is a missed opportunity.
Even if you’re one of the online arm-crossing critics who bashed it, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT has a great Dolby Atmos track that will at least make you blast one of your Blondie records.
On August 24, THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT will be available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD. To learn more about how Director Michael Chaves tackled the latest installment in The Conjuring franchise, go here.