Horror sequels so often fall prey to the law of diminishing returns. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It has its work cut out for it, because not only is it the third instalment in the mainline series, it’s the eighth entry in an expanded universe of prequels and spin-offs. However, like all good villains, The Conjuring refuses to die and has once again managed to deliver the fun and the chills that make the franchise so popular.

Like the other films in the series the story is based on ‘real’ events. In this case, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) attempt to legally prove a man’s innocence on the basis of demonic possession. This is an interesting new plot development for the series and, initially, it appears to be a Halloween version of Miracle on 34th Street. The film certainly enjoys creating some ambiguity between truth and belief, but as it progresses it can’t help but fall back into the usual jump scares.

Michael Chaves (taking over directing duties from James Wan), who previously made a Conjuring spin-off, proves he has as much style and flare to live up to his predecessor. Taking a less is more approach, Chaves builds suspense that holds out to the very end (with special praise going to the sound department). So that, even though the Warrens must have battled every threat Hell has to offer by this point, the couple still feel out of their depth.

Despite being the first Conjuring to be made sans Wan, it still manages to stand proudly with the best entries in the series. It may sacrifice an intriguing story for shocks and scares, but nor is it trying to reinvent the wheel. An effective, competent thrill ride from beginning to end.



CAST: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook

DIRECTOR: Michael Chaves

WRITERS: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and James Wan

SYNOPSIS: Ed and Lorraine Warren attempt to prove the innocence of Arne Johnson; a young man on trial for a brutal murder which he claims was the result of a demonic possession.