‘The Conjuring The Devil Made Me Do It’ Summary & Analysis: The Trial of Arne Johnson


The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is the third installment of the Conjuring Series and 8th film of the Conjuring Universe. In 2013 The Conjuring was released and subsequently in 2016 The Conjuring II hit the theatres. Ed and Lorrain Warren once again take us through the demonic investigations and try to save the life of a family. Through this article let’s explore what works and what doesn’t, for the film. 

The film has been directed by Michael Chaves, who had also directed The Curse of La Llorona in 2019 and the story has been conceptualised and written by James Wan and David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick. It is based on true events that happened on 16th February 1981 in Connecticut. 

‘The Devil Made Me Do It’ Summary

Ed and Lorrain are called to perform an exorcism on an 8 year old boy named David Gletzel. It was attended by his parents, his sister, Debbie and also his sister’s boyfriend, Arne Johnson. During the exorcism something strange happened. David starts screaming and shouting in a horrifying tone, unlike his real self. Things start getting out of hand. That’s when Arne intervenes and asks whatever is inside David to leave the poor boy and come into him. Ed tries to stop him but something happens and he falls to the ground losing his senses. Ed wakes up to find himself in the hospital. He knows there and then that the devil might have left David but would have gone inside Arne. 

Just moments after that they hear the news that a man in his twenties was found soaked in blood, walking on the road. That was Arne Johnson. He had killed his Landlord and the police found him walking in an oblivious state. He had stabbed Bono, the landlord, 22 times with a knife. Arne didn’t know what had crept into him and how he was able to do something so dastardly. The Warren’s convinced his lawyer to take the defence of demonic possession and that’s what the lawyer did. 

But then a big revelation was made that stunned the Warren’s. They found a devil’s totem in the house. That heavily affects their deductions which they had made till now about the whole fiasco. They knew that they were in for something big and terrible. 

‘The Devil Made Me Do It’ Analysis

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, is more about sustenance. It is more about taking a legacy forward without tampering its soul. It felt like the makers did want to bring in a new flavour but still wanted to keep the foundation intact. 

Michael Chaves does try to bring in a fresher perspective. This time there is no haunted house per se, which was the characteristic feature of every film in the Conjuring franchise. The film revolves around a real life case which happened in the United States. It was the first time that the defence of demonic possession was taken in the court of law. 

These are some conversant features that always seem to work in the favour of the franchise. But this time it doesn’t leave that much impact as compared to the previous two installments. 

The film starts on a high note where we see David being exorcised. Post that there are multiple things happening at the same time. I personally felt that the events were not given enough screen time to get soaked into our subconscious. Before we got acquainted with one incident, the narrative introduced another one, henceforth diluting the effect. The story takes place on three different fronts and I believe each one of them had the potential of being transformed into a film of its own. When all three were clubbed, what we got was a world made up of three inconsistent fragments. Not denying that the movie has its moments but it left me craving for more. I wanted to know more about the trial or the witch’s totem. 

What I mean is that this was the first time any individual was taking such a bizarre sounding defence in the court of law. It would have created ripples at that time and a sneak peak into that ambiguity, being experienced by the society would have strengthened the premise even more. 

Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren and Vera Farmiga as Lorrain, have made it look like they belong to this world. You would still get that feeling of comfort when you see them in a scary setting. But the writers made it a bit too comforting this time. That elements of vulnerability and surprise were somewhat shunned and a more predictable route was taken. 

Irrespective of the glitches, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, is an entertaining watch. I might be having high expectations from the film like quintessential middle class parents, expecting wonders from their kid, but then that’s how high the bar has been set by the franchise. It would be interesting to see where the makers take it from here. 

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a 2021 Horror Thriller film directed by Michael Chaves.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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