Upfront, I’m a sucker for this franchise. Spinoffs and all.
The anchor of this film and one of the best parts of the tentpole films in The Conjuring universe is the relationship between Ed and Lorraine Warren. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are perfect together. The investment in these two characters takes these films to another level and keeps them above the typical studio horror film status. This film dives much deeper into the chemistry between the dynamic duo and a bit more of their backstory, as they are both tested in ways they haven’t been before. Vera, especially, shines as she takes the lead in this film after Patrick’s character is somewhat sidelined in this round.
Story-wise, it’s pretty straightforward. More of a detective story and a much broader scope than the other two prominent films in the franchise. The cinematography is again off the charts. The camera work is perfectly executed to give the audience all they need, framed just the way it needs to be, and timed for maximum impact. Even when the film leans on topes, they’re so well done that you won’t care.
I get a little worried every time they add to this cinematic universe, and each time my fears have been alleviated by the finished product. The balance is always there with just enough new set upon a foundation of familiarity, with strong enough characters that we follow them to hell and back. Extremely well done. Highly recommend.