- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 28, 2021

The third movie of a blockbuster supernatural horror franchise continued coverage of the real-life, terrifying career of famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Released in mid-2021, it explored one of their most famous cases and moves from a simultaneous streaming and theatrical release to ultra-high definition disc.

In The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, rated R, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 151 minutes, $44.98), viewers are taken back to 1981 as the Warrens (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return to star) supervise the exorcism of an 8-year-old David Glatzel possessed by a powerful demon.

As expected, things get ugly, and the entity causes Ed to have a heart attack. Even worse, he notices that the demon has moved from the child to family friend Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor).

Arne subsequently murders his landlord, stabbing him 22 times, and his actions lead to the first American murder trial in which a defendant pleads not guilty based on demonic possession.

It’s up to the Warrens, specifically Lorraine’s telepathic abilities, to help prove his innocence. The journey takes them down a trail of flashbacks of the original possession searching for clues and on a path to reveal a mysterious woman’s occult intentions.

Sprinkled with the traditions of a horror genre, the film offers a share of jump scares, a bloated monster, creaking floorboards, a dark crawl space filled with rats, an obligatory super creepy priest and demon worship.

Ultimately, it gets resolved in the scariest of all horrors — courtroom proceedings.

Not as potent as previously released films, the latest “Conjuring” relies less on haunted-house thrills and more on supernatural drama but is still a worthy watch for fans of the series.

The 2160p presentation works hard to overcome some very dark cinematographic visual choices, almost too dark sometimes to appreciate the supernatural shenanigans, but revels in highlighting the sickly pall of yellow in scenes, nearly impinging on sepia tone, when evil is present.

Detailed clarity is consistent throughout, showcased in less spooky scenes such as by Lorraine almost falling over a rock formation and into a dam reservoir, or when the creepy meter gets turned up as a priest walks in the fog toward the Glatzels’ mansion.

Best extras: Viewers will find a sprinkling of three featurettes and a motion comic on the included Blu-ray version of the movie.

Among the 15 minutes afforded to the production, the best of the segments offers an account of the real events that includes a creepy interview with convicted murderer Arne and his wife Debbie.

Of course, Arne plays the victim card in a story that is pretty hard to believe to begin with while he absolves himself for the killing

Next, an almost 13-minute-long, slightly animated, motion comic called “The Conjuring: The Lover” extends the horror universe in a pair of tales originally released in pulp back in June by DC Comics.

The main tale “The Lover” about a college student stalked by an evil presence never resolves and offers Gary Brown’s mediocre artwork. It certainly does not stand up to high definition scrutiny on a large television screen, and the story never concludes.

The second “Tales from the Artifact Museum: The Ferryman” presents more mayhem caused by a character seen in the movie “Annabelle Comes Home” and features art by the venerable Denys Cowan.

Both multimedia polished pieces offer extensive character voice-over narration but could have benefited by the artwork of a horror illustrator such as Mike Mignola or Charlie Adlard.

The best part of the presentation is the occasional look at some old-school advertisements that might have been seen in a vintage “Tales from the Crypt” comic book.

Viewers also get a code to access the comic digitally.

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