Movie review: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The devil may have the best tunes, but he is responsible for some pretty ropey films.
This third film from The Conjuring series is titled The Devil Made Me Do It, which could also work as a cry for help from the production team for this laughable outing.
It is a pretty steep fall from the genuine scares of the first The Conjuring film in 2013 and closer to Scooby-Doo than satanic ritual.
Supposedly based on true events (only in the loosest possible way), the movie is set in 1981, and the very Hollywoodised versions of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) help defend Arne Johnson (Ruairi O'Connor), a young man whose excuse for stabbing his landlord to death was that he was possessed by a demon.
What we get is the strongest contender for the stupidest film of the year – not bad going considering we have had the Mortal Kombat reboot.
Rather than build a relatable world, characters are positioned to set up horror tropes with hardly any regard for whether those actions are believable.
Even the most laid-back would raise an eyebrow at a family's first choice of activity post-exorcism – during which a young boy performs some demon-fuelled chiropractic improbabilities, demonic claw marks scar the walls and one of the exorcists suffers a devil-induced heart attack – being a lovely picnic in the backyard.
The way people react to the Warrens, you wonder why there is any doubt over demons existing.
Nobody takes much persuasion. But it is Ed and Lorraine convincing Johnson's lawyer of demonic possession off-camera that feels particularly lazy.
In an effort to mask the meagre plot, director Michael Chaves makes sure you are never more than a few minutes from a pointless - and increasingly tiresome - jump scare.
John Noble is roped in for extra gravitas. He is a great actor but it is a piece of casting so obvious he may as well wear a sign emblazoned with "I HAVE A SINISTER SECRET".
Unintentional silly and caked in eye-roll-inducing attempts at spookiness, even the most squeamish will find themselves sniggering rather than screaming at this nonsense.
The Devil Made Me Do It is so close to a parody, it could be entertaining to watch at home with friends. But paying to watch in a cinema – as this reviewer did – feels like an evening wasted.
THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT (NC16)