The Conjuring was a huge success, receiving critical acclaim, a large return at the box office, and spawning a franchise of sequels and spin-offs. Now, the third (and maybe final?) film about Ed and Lorraine Warren is soon to be released. The scares look bigger, the action looks more over-the-top, and Ed and Lorraine look even more like superheroes as they possibly go up against the ultimate enemy. Who could that be, you ask? Ohhh, I dunno,
The thought of Ed and Lorraine Warren, two… controversial figures in the world of paranormal investigations, now being pushed into action star territory while still pushing the “based on their case files” aspect is pretty wild. Depending on who you ask, they helped or hurt any case they decided to investigate. They were the only non-priests to assist the Vatican with exorcisms, but I also read one of their books where they explained that serial killers were people possessed by werewolf demons … Sooooooo ya know, take ‘em with a grain of salt.
I actually think it made a lot of sense to build this type of franchise around them. They are fascinating people with very public personas. For instance, there was a period of time where, for a nominal fee, you could have dinner with Lorraine (and a group of other paying customers) at her home and then receive a tour of the infamous idol room. The one with all the “haunted” tchotchkes. They were devout and passionate and a little nuts. Now they’re action stars but we’re also supposed to believe these things at least kinda, maybe, sorta happened.
I wasn’t kidding when I said the action here looks far more over-the-top. What I love about the first Conjuring film is that they play the “is this real or not” card for quite a bit. Eventually, it’s made clear that it’s real and god exists and so on and so forth, but for a while, they play with that tension. Since then the movies have moved pretty firmly into “it’s real and it’s spectacular” territory. For better or worse, it has made the already hard-to-swallow stories about the Warrens even harder to swallow.
Look, I like these movies. Enough so that they led me to read one of the Warrens’ books about exorcising a werewolf from someone. I love horror/adventure movies and I feel like that subgenre is slowly regaining its footing in recent years. But if you want to enjoy them, I would push the whole “these were real people” aspect to the back of your mind because otherwise, things become a bit dicey.