Adam Hursey’s review published on Letterboxd:
Boy, here is a film that is really getting dragged and I’m trying to figure out why exactly. Sure, it’s not as strong of a film as The Conjuring. But that film is one of my favorite horror films all time. Definitely one of my top theater experiences. I don’t really remember many details about the second film in this series (I need to rewatch it at some point I guess). My expectations were very low going into this film, as it probably should be for any part 3 (or part 8 of an extended cinematic universe). The bar was on the floor. So, yeah, it cleared the bar for sure.
I thought the film was extremely effective for the first hour plus. It kind of gets away from itself there in the last act as it pretty much abandons the original story (which has some basis in reality), and decides it wants to become The Shining maybe? We are far removed from the characters of Ed and Lorraine Warren resembling anything remotely close to their real life counterparts at this point. Perhaps some viewers have difficulties reconciling that disconnect. Personally, once I embraced it, I was fine with it. It’s not as interesting to me of course. What made The Conjuring work was how believable the entire plot was, especially if you believe in demonic possession (which I do). By the time we reach the finale in this film, we are expected to embrace that old cinematic chestnut that love does indeed conquer all. And it’s not as interesting of a theme as one this film could have portrayed had it stuck with the original plot involving a potential possession and a landmark courtroom defense.
But the film still works as far as world building and cinematic universe building goes. I was engaged with the film for the majority of it. It has it’s moments. Was I the only person thinking “How’s this for a wet dream?” during the waterbed scene? And Call Me by Blondie always works no matter how it is used (and it is used well here). The film would not have worked without Patrick Wilson and Vera Farminga though. They are really able to carry these movies a long way. Bless their hearts.
I’m sure that this series of films will continue, but it may be time to retire it for a while or get someone who can bring it back to its origins. You know, someone like James Wan back in the director’s chair. I was able to forgive a lot this time around, but next time may push me beyond the door so to speak.