The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
*/**** Image A Sound A Extras C
starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ruairi O'Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook
screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
directed by Michael Chaves
by Walter Chaw I like the Conjuring movies--or, rather, I've come to appreciate them independent of their actual quality. I like them not because of their supernatural stuff or sometimes-expert jump scares, but because they're a popular mainstream film series--one that has suspiciously little to do with any conjuring--about a corny, middle-aged, 1960s married couple who are hot for each other. They own a small business together and respect the unique skill sets the other one brings to the table. Their marriage is as solid as American steel. Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) thinks Ed (Patrick Wilson) is the manliest man that ever manned; Ed thinks Lorraine is the most spiritual spiritualist to ever spiritual. In each other's eyes, they are the utmost. I bet the sex is incredible. Ed and Lorraine are based on real-life couple the Warrens, who earned a living as the kind of sideshow hucksters James Randi made it his holy mission to expose. Yet as immortalized in this flourishing billion-dollar franchise, they are golden and perfect. They are Ozzie & Harriet: Demonologist Exorcists, and these movies are vehicles for their vintage, good ol' middle-American can-do spirit. They're what Republicans used to be before devolving into domestic terrorists and Christo-fascist cultists, and so they carry with them a trace of nostalgia for a time before this country seemed irrevocably divided. In this cinematic universe, the threat isn't only from within.