The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It opens with images of rubble inside the Glatzel family’s house, evoking the beginning of a different film. Director Michael Chaves, who hosted a virtual event for the press to see the film’s opening scene, knew exactly what he was doing. “We’ve seen the Warrens go on these kinds of adventures in the past.
There’s an illusion that they’ll face a demon and exorcise it by the end of the film. We were like, “Let’s just turn that whole idea on its head, let’s start with the thing you think the movie would end with, and then make it go terribly wrong,” from the beginning.
Chaves is referring to the 1981 exorcism of young David Glatzel, which was supported by the real Ed and Lorraine Warren. When the Warrens, the Glatzels, and Arne Johnson, David’s sister Debbie’s boyfriend, reach the end of a prayer, Ed suggests taking a break.All seems to be tired, with Ed telling Lorraine, “I can’t recall one quite like this.” Fortunately, David’s exorcism has been authorised by the Catholic Church, and the Warrens’ old friend Father Gordon is on his way to execute it. Arne carries David upstairs to bed, praising the boy’s courage and promising that nothing bad will happen to him. Yes, Arne..
In a shot that pays homage to both The Exorcist and Psycho, Father Gordon appears as Arne is leaving David’s apartment. It’s an open nod to horror fans, but one that Chaves felt was appropriate in the context of the Conjuring films. “Without a doubt, a shameless Exorcist reference there; also, seeing Mother in the window was a shameless nod to Psycho.I was on the verge of cutting it out when we screened it. ‘It’s too obvious; you’re just shamelessly plagiarising from the greatest film of all time,’ I said. But I kept it, and I’m happy I did because when we began screening it, people liked it because they could see the parallels and link the dots. The Conjuring films are still these odes to horror films.
When you look at the first one, you’ll notice a lot of elements from The Changeling, as well as other horror films. I believe it does so with great affection.”As David awakens to thrashing sounds at his bedroom door, the Psycho thread begins. He runs into the bathroom, hides in the tub, and looks up to see an inhuman hand clutching the curtain rail. You’re never safe in the shower, David.The showerhead erupts in blood, causing David to pass out. Julian Hilliard’s grounded performance as David is a huge help to the film’s first eleven minutes of terror, which should come as no surprise given the young actor’s outstanding performances in films like The Haunting of Hill House, Color Out of Space, and WandaVision, to name a few. “Julian is incredible.
Chaves described him as a “superstar.” “He was very well-prepared, and he’s a very bright young man. He knows and understands the script just as well as any of the adult cast members. It’s not just knowing your lines and when to create a demonic scream or whatever; it’s really comprehending the content. Someone inquired, “How is it like guiding children?”It’s very easy if you get the right one, I think that was the biggest thing with Julian. I really lucked out with that little guy.”
The adults downstairs hear the commotion in the bathroom and run to David’s rescue, but David seems to have vanished by the time they arrive… Until his shadow appears and he lunges at his father with a knife. Father Gordon suggests driving David to the church to execute the exorcism, which Ed manages to do.
The large slash marks David makes on the wall as Ed takes him downstairs, however, make it clear that the exorcism must take place immediately. Lorraine starts to pray for David after Ed has gotten him onto the dining room table. The evil one Plates fly and debris swirls in the air, knocking Drew the camera guy’s (another Conjuring cameo) camera down in front of the television, making an endless funhouse corridor on the screen. Based on the teaser, this picture appears to be repeated later in the film.
Plates fly and debris swirls into the air, knocking Drew the camera guy’s (another Conjuring cameo) camera down in front of the television, making an endless funhouse corridor on the screen. Based on the teaser, this picture appears to be used again later in the film.The Occultist has in David’s possession, but did say the film positions her as a shadow version of Lorraine.
Lorraine is the ultimate receiver, according to the plan. There’s that sequence [in the opening scene] where the camera falls down and stares at the television. Growing up with a camcorder, pointing a direct feed into the TV, the endless loop of a signal into a receiver was something I would constantly amuse myself with.One of the concepts in [The Devil Made Me Do It] was the notion of a super-powerful receiver and a super-powerful broadcaster: what happens when Lorraine reaches her match? What happens when she encounters someone with the same level of strength and talent as her? An ‘anti-Lorraine,’ if you will. As a result, she will have to deal with it.The idea of a super-powerful receiver and a super-powerful presenter was one of the ideas in [The Devil Made Me Do It]: what happens when Lorraine meets her match? What happens if she meets someone who has the same amount of strength and talent as she does? If you can, call her a ‘anti-Lorraine.’ She’ll have to live with it as a result.
In the film, we use a lot of mirrors. Lorraine has Lorraine’s ‘anti-Lorraine,’ the dark ghost. Arne and Debbie Glatzel’s relationship resembles that of the Warrens, and we can see the Warrens at various stages of their lives, as well as this young couple at the start of their relationship.There’s also another situation/character in the storey that resembles the Warrens’ artefact room in certain ways. The intention is to turn it around and look at the other side. What happens if the Warrens make a mistake?” Chaves didn’t say anything about what to expect from a more evil version of the Warrens’ artefact space, but it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
The demon contorts David’s body into hideous, painful shapes in the most visceral moment of the footage, which has a grotesque pretzel-like feel about it. Emerald Wulf, a 12-year-old contortionist who appeared on America’s Got Talent last year, helped bring this moment to life, according to Chaves.That’s all done in camera, and it’s not sped up in any way,” Chaves explained. “We had CG in that we had to face substitution, but there was no wire work; it was all her doing. What’s even more incredible is that it’s happening at high speeds. The idea was for her to do a slow rise up, and we did a couple of takes like that before Emerald asked, “Can you do it any different?” ‘I could do a very fast version,’ she said.