The Conjuring franchise is one of the best horror franchises in the history of movies on par with Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween. The only difference is The Conjuring is based in reality where the others aren’t. It is grounded in a real-world setting. The main characters Ed and Lorraine Warren played respectively by Patrick Wison and Vera Farmiga are real people. Their lives and exploits have been documented by them and others. That’s where their latest story comes from.
While involved in an exorcism not far from where they live in New England, the Warrens happen to be nearby when a man who was a family member of the boy who had to be exorcised kills his landlord. His defense is that he was possessed by the same demon that the boy was and that it passed from the boy to him in the process of exorcism. His lawyer says if you can’t convince her that he was posted by a demon and killed his landlord how can they convince a jury. That one sentence leads the Warrens down a rabbit hole of an investigation.
James Wan directed the first two films in this trilogy and he set the overall aesthetic and feel of the films. They are set in the ’70s and ’80s and the look of them is fantastic. I love films set in specific periods that get them right. The cars and clothes and household items and so forth are all spot-on in these films. Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona) picks up right where Wan left off in that respect. The camera work and cinematography both look great in the film.
This film is a little different than the other two films in the trilogy. It is more of an investigation into how this guy was possessed. This is like a classic detective story in a sense. They enlist the help of an ex-priest Kastner (John Noble Fringe). The investigation leads them down all kinds of rabbit holes. Their cases have taken all kinds of forms and this one is your classic detective mystery.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga were hardly known when they got the roles in the first Conjuring film. He was in Watchmen and she was in The Departed. Those were their most popular roles before getting the roles as the Warrens. They become synonymous with these roles and they have made them their own throughout the last decade. Through the trilogy, they have had all kinds of issues and it’s nice to see them progress as characters. Like normal people, they have grown into these characters. That is one of the best parts of this film and the others.
The film uses the murder, incarceration, and trial as basically a framing device. Everything else that happens is the investigation by the Warrens. And how they deal with what they find in their process. Some good scenes keep to the overall feel of the franchise and horror movies in general. The performances by Wilson and Farmiga are spot on. The aesthetic and look of the film are first-rate. It was an overall good experience revisiting these characters once again. This film will be good to watch in theaters or on HBO Max.
Dan Skip Allen
Founder/EIC disappointment media