‘The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It’: 4K Ultra HD movie review
WASHINGTON — The third installment of the blockbuster supernatural horror franchise “The Conjuring” continues its coverage of the terrifying, real-life career of famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Released in mid-2021, this latest film explores one of their most famous cases. Initially released simultaneously in streaming and theatrical formate, it’s now available in an ultra-high definition disc package for home viewers.
In “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, rated R, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 151 minutes, $44.98), filmmakers take viewers back to 1981. In that year, the Warrens supervised the exorcism of an 8-year-old David Glatzel, an unfortunate youngster possessed by a powerful demon. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return to star.
“The Conjuring” Part 3: An exorcism and a gruesome murder get things going
As you might expect, things get ugly in this film in a hurry. The evil entity possessing David causes Ed to suffer a heart attack. But Ed manages to notice that the demon has migrated from the child to family friend Arne Johnson. Arne (Ruairi O’Connor) subsequently murders his landlord, stabbing him 22 times. His actions lead to the first American murder trial in which a defendant pleads not guilty due to demonic possession.
So now it’s up to the Warrens — specifically Lorraine’s telepathic abilities — to help prove Arne’s innocence. The journey takes them down a trail of flashbacks recalling the original possession. En route, they search for clues, hoping to discover a path that unveils a mysterious woman’s apparently occult intentions.
Plenty of scares quickly materialize
Sprinkled with the traditions of a horror genre, the film offers its fair share of jump scares. These include a bloated monster, creaking floorboards, a dark crawl space filled with rats, the obligatory, super creepy priest and, of course, demon worship. Ultimately, our heroes help resolve the mystery in the scariest of all horror scenarious — courtroom proceedings.
The current film proves not as potent as previously released films in this franchise. But that said, the latest “Conjuring” installment relies less on haunted-house thrills and more on supernatural drama. Consequently, it’s still a worthy watch for fans of the series.
A dark film can sometimes be too dark. Visually, that is…
This newly released 2160p presentation works hard to overcome some very dark cinematographic visual choices. In fact, at times, this film is at times far too visually dark for viewers to appreciate the supernatural shenanigans on screen. But, nearly intruding on its favored sepia tone, the film frequently highlights the sickly pall of yellow in scenes when evil is palpably present.
Yet for the most part, detailed clarity remains consistent throughout. The film showcases this virtue in less spooky scenes. Best examples include Lorraine almost falling over a rock formation and into a dam reservoir, or when the creepy meter gets turned up, as when we see a priest walking in the fog toward the Glatzels’ mansion.
Best extras: Three featurettes…
Viewers will find a sprinkling of three featurettes and a motion comic on the included Blu-ray version of the movie. Among the 15 minutes afforded to this production, the best of the segments offers an account of the real events. Of particular note in this segment: a creepy interview with convicted murderer Arne and his wife Debbie. Arne, of course, plays the victim card in a story that is pretty hard to believe to begin with, as he absolves himself for the killing.
… including a pair of animated motion comics
The next featurette offers a roughly 13-minute-long, slightly animated motion comic called “The Conjuring: The Lover.” It extends the horror universe in a pair of tales originally released in pulp by DC Comics back in June 2021. “The Lover,” concerns a college student stalked by an evil presence. Not only does the story line never resolves. It’s built, unfortunately, upon Gary Brown’s mediocre artwork. It certainly does not stand up to high definition scrutiny on a large television screen.
The second story, “Tales from the Artifact Museum: The Ferryman” presents more mayhem. The chaos is set in motion by a character seen in the movie “Annabelle Comes Home,” which features art by the venerable Denys Cowan.
Both multimedia-polished pieces offer extensive character voice-over narration. But could have benefited if based on the artwork of a first-rate horror illustrator such as Mike Mignola or Charlie Adlard.
Recalling “Tales from the Crypt” comics
The best part of the extras selection is a look back at some old-school advertisements that might have been seen in a vintage “Tales from the Crypt” comic book.
Bonus: Viewers also get a code to access the comic digitally.
• This story originally appeared in The Washington Times.