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The upcoming movie, subtitled The Devil Made Me Do It, is a bit different than the two Conjuring movies before it — not only does it have a new director (The Curse of La Llorona's Michael Chaves is taking over from James Wan), but it also moves beyond the haunted house-focused tales of the first two films.
“For any franchise to seem fresh there needs to be invention and reinvention, and we wanted to tell a Conjuring story but in a way that we haven't seen before,” Chaves said recently at a group press event, including SYFY WIRE. “This is, in a lot of ways, more a supernatural thriller — we're taking the Warrens on the road.”
The Devil Made Me Do It revolves around a real-life murder where, in 1981, Arne Johnson (played by Ruairi O'Connor in the movie) kills his landlord and made the case that he was possessed by a demon when he committed the crime. The real-life Warrens testified in his defense, and the trailer for the movie shows Wilson’s Ed Warren making a similar case for Arne (check out the full trailer here to see his testimonal).
The courtroom aspect of The Devil Made Me Do It also gives the third Conjuring film a procedural element, which puts the Warrens into dangerous demonic circumstances in several locations. “I think that the great thing about a procedural is you are on the road — you're going into different environments, you're working with different people. It's taking you outside of what really is a comfortable setting,” Chaves explained. “At this point in their careers and in our experience with the Warrens, the haunted house has now become a comfortable setting.”
What kinds of settings, you may ask? Chaves didn’t spoil anything, of course, but he does admit that fans will see the Warrens in situations they’ve never seen them in before. “There's sequences in the movie that haven't even been in the trailers,” he said. “But everybody loves them when they see them, and it's because it is so out of the experience of what we're used to. I'm honestly so thrilled that they weren't put in the trailer because there's a lot of cool wild stuff in store for fans.”
What will be thrilling for fans, however, is decidedly less thrilling for the Warrens, who find themselves descending scary-looking stairs to even scarier circumstances several times in the film.
“I wanted to send the Warrens to hell,” Chaves admitted. “I love the idea that there would be this kind of feeling of descent through the movie. And even the idea of Orpheus…the idea that you have someone descending into the underworld to get their love back. I just thought that that was really fun.”
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It premieres in theaters and on HBO Max on June 4.