Movie Review: “The Conjuring 3” takes story to the occult


Photo courtesy of Cinema Blend

Horrifyingly real: “The Conjuring 3” follows the true story of Arne Johnson and his demonic possession in the early 1980s. Fans of the “The Conjuring” series are sure to appreciate this latest installment of the franchise.

Demons and black magic abound in this latest installment to the Conjuring franchise that is sure to keep your attention with its many scares and mysteries.

“The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It” is a worthy addition to the Conjuring series as it takes the story in a new direction by telling the story of Arne Johnson and his brush with the demonic.

The movie is based off of the real life trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson in November of 1981 where, for the first time in American history, the defense sought to prove his innocence based upon the claim of demonic possession. However, the movie does not focus so much on the court proceedings but instead on how Ed and Lorraine Warren worked to rid Johnson of the demon within.

Shortly after having come into contact with David Glatzel, an 11-year-old boy suffering from demonic possession, Johnson murdered his landlord, Alan Bono, with a pocketknife in a brutal fashion. This was done after he appeared to exhibit the same behavior as David had and it is later revealed that Johnson had taunted the same demon that was possessing David during an exorcism, which drew it into him.

This is the premise for the movie but the story differs from true events as the Warrens become involved when they investigate the possession and try to prove that Johnson is innocent of his crimes.

One cool thing to note is that the title of the movie “The Devil Made Me Do It” is the actual name of the court case, which is a nice tie-in to the real-life events that the movie is based on.

The movie vastly differs from its source material as the Warrens go deeper into how and why Johnson became possessed but there are many parts of the story that line up with sources on the internet and other written works about Johnson’s story such as Alone Through the Valley by Carl Glatzel and The Devil in Connecticut by Gerald Brittle.

One part about this movie, and indeed the entire franchise, that I found especially riveting was the sound design and music that accompanied the film. The music is gripping and ramps up the tension well for action scenes.

Another detail that I found interesting was that the Warrens were being pitted against not only demonic adversaries, but human foes as well. This interesting turn marks a change in the series as the villains are not always marauding ghosts or demons bent on a rampage.

While all in all a good movie, it did feel like some scenes were removed to save on time as some cuts were a bit awkward, but at a run time of nearly two hours it is easy to understand why some scenes may have been cut or rushed. There is also enough foreshadowing early on in the film as well to guess how the story will end if one pays attention to the plot.

As with every Conjuring movie, part of the credits include actual photos and recordings of the possession/haunting that the movie is based upon. The chilling sounds of the Warrens speaking with their possessed subjects will always be both terrifying and tantalizing to me.

If I were to compare this movie with the rest of the Conjuring franchise, I would say that it ranks as one of the better installments. While a good scary movie overall, it does not rank much higher or lower than the first two movies of the franchise.

If you enjoy a movie with lots of scares, gripping music, demonic possession and a tinge of mystery, then “The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It” is for you.