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Non-Review Review: The Conjuring – The Devil Made Me Do It

It’s absurd to think that The Conjuring is probably the second most successful shared universe at Hollywood.

Of course, this is arguably more an indictment of the struggles that companies like Warner Bros. and Universal have faced in trying to launch competition for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is still impressive that a gigantic homage to populist seventies horror has successfully grossed nearly two billion dollars across eight films. After all, this is a property anchored in a cinematic nostalgia which has succeeded through casting character actors appreciably older than most horror leads, notably Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, but also Linda Cardellini, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston.

“Holy Plot! I mean, this plot… it’s full of holes…”

Following a variety of spin-offs and tie-ins including The Nun, The Curse of La Llorona and the separate Annabelle trilogy, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is the third entry in the franchise’s cornerstone series. It is the first entry in that main series not to be directed by James Wan. Instead, Wan hands over directorial responsibilities to Michael Chaves, who helmed The Curse of La Llorona. Still, in terms of aesthetic and scale, The Devil Made Me Do It is recognisable as a continuation and development of the previous two entries in the trilogy.

Much like The Conjuring 2, The Devil Made Me Do It is a curious genre hybrid. It feels like a conscious effort to build a blockbuster horror movie, incorporating elements from more populist films and tying them back to the nuts-and-bolts mechanics of classic horror films. Like The Conjuring 2, this hybridisation is perhaps more interesting than it is effective. It doesn’t entirely work, but it certain merits investigation.

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