The ever expanding Conjuring universe has added its eighth film to the franchise with ‘The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It’. The HBO Max release is the third film in the main series, featuring the characters of real-life demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren.
The Conjuring 3’s narrative captures one of the Warrens’ most prolific paranormal cases that led to the first American murder trial to claim demonic possession as a defence. The film opens in 1981 with Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) overseeing the exorcism of 8-year-old David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard), who has been possessed by an evil entity.
During the procedure, things go severely wrong and in order to protect the little boy, Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor), who is dating David’s sister, invites the demon into his body. Ed witnesses this but passes out due to a heart attack. He then reveals this to his wife as soon as he regains consciousness.
Meanwhile, Arne suffers the consequences of his actions and ends up murdering his landlord in a hallucinatory fit. He is jailed and with everything pointing against him, he pleads not guilty owing to demonic possession. The Warrens then have to race a ticking clock to prove his claims in court before he is severely sentenced.
If you’ve watched the film and still have questions about intricate details in the 112 minute runtime, we’ve got all the answers for you.
When and Why does David get possessed?
When the Warrens start investigating the root of the incident post Arne’s arrest, they ask to see the place where David first saw the demon. It turns out to be a room which had a water bed in it when the family first moved into the house, five months before the exorcism.
The bed had since been removed due to the mattress bursting (when the demon attacked the child). The demonologist couple notices black marks and withering at the spot of the incident and claim that it is not, as previously believed, due to water damage.
Loraine then crawls under the house to investigate and finds a witch’s totem placed directly underneath where David got possessed. This proves to them that someone has cursed the child and it passed on to Arne when he invited the demon into him.
Why does Arne show no signs of possession immediately after his arrest?
Since Ed had witnessed Arne become the demon’s host, it is curious that he is able to read from the bible and have no aversion to holy water, post his arrest.
The discovery of the totem clears out the questions as Ed reveals that it was used as part of a satanic ritual which includes the summoning of a demon, who then posses a host, kills a person, and departs.
So technically, once Arne murders his landlord, he is no longer possessed. This is a positive sign for his well being but no so much for proving his claims of not being guilty.
Who is Kastner?
Having no further information about the totem, Ed asks Drew — their assistant — to mail out its pictures to every major police department in hopes of a lead.
Meanwhile Father Newman (who conducted David’s exorcism) advises the Warrens to seek out a retired priest named Kastner who was responsible for ousting an evil Satanic cult about a decade ago.
The couple meet the old man who warns them that when he was involved in investigating the Disciples of the Ram cult, it took a lot out of him seeing the hideous and gruesome deeds they committed.
He further tells them that a master Satanist is an adverse foe and it may prove to be extremely dangerous to take on the person responsible for the curse.
What do the Warrens find in Danvers Massachusetts?
Drew informs the couple that a homicide detective in Danvers claims to have seen the totem before and wants to meet. Ed and Lorraine travel to the city and are told about a similar murder case which involved two college friends.
One of them was found stabbed 22 times (Which is the same amount of times Arne stabbed his victim) while the other one is missing.
Lorraine bargains with the detective for the case file in return for using her psychic vision ability to find the missing girl. They head to the forest where the body was found and she recreates the scene using her powers.
After a series of eventful and dangerous flashbacks, Lorraine confirms that it was a similar curse and the missing girl had stabbed her friend under the influence of a demon and then jumped into a nearby lake to commit suicide.
Her body is eventually discovered and the couple gets their case file.
What is the connection that Lorraine shares with the Satanist?
Back at a motel in Danvers, Lorraine confesses to Ed that she when she touched David’s hand during the exorcism, she had a vision that connected her to to evil Satanist for a moment.
Therefore, in order to utilise that connection for information, the couple travels to the morgue where the newly discovered body of the girl from the lake is kept. Lorraine touches her hand to find some clues and has a new vision that takes her into the lair of their enemy.
Unfortunately for them, she realises that the connection works both ways and the curse wielder (who is a woman) can use to track and attack Lorraine as well. The Satanist reanimates a corpse to attack the couple but Ed manages to save them by unclenching his wife’s hand from the dead girl’s hand in the nick of time, breaking the connection.
What is the curse?
Once Arne is in prison and awaiting a sentence, the Satanist targets him again and starts haunting his thoughts to convince him to commit suicide. Furthermore, she also manages to curse Ed by sending a totem into his office concealed in a bouquet.
Fortunately, Drew manages to unearth a book on Stregherian witchcraft that talks about a curse demanding human sacrifices — one by murder and one by suicide.
Unable to fully understand the text, Lorraine takes the book to Kastner who confirms their suspicion. He reveals that the curse talks about claiming three victims to be complete that include “the child, the lover, and the man of God” — targeting the embodiment of God’s work comprising purity, love, and faith.
The book also says that the only way to break the curse is to destroy the alter (that Lorraine saw in her vision) it was cast from.
How does Ed locate the alter?
As Lorraine leaves to talk to the former priest, Ed and Drew try to figure out the location of the alter, using clues from the vision. They mark the locations where the totems were found, and using the Danvers case file, they realise that the college girl also found hers close to where the Warrens and the Glatzels live.
This helps them confirm that the Satanist is operating in the same area. Using Lorraine’s hints about underground tunnels, sounds of water dripping, and a train line, Ed figures out that the location of Kastner’s house is the ideal fit.
Sensing his wife is in danger, he rushes out and orders Drew to send the police to the same location.
How is Kastner related to the Satanist?
Back at his house, Kastner confesses that even though he was a priest, he had a daughter and her mother died during childbirth. This forced him to raise her in secret during the times when he was investigating the cult.
Unfortunately for him, his obsessions passed on to his daughter, but, instead of working against them, she got fascinated by the dark arts and decided to adopt them.
Lorraine is shocked to discover that their sworn enemy is the daughter of the same priest who has been helping them. Realising he should have spoken sooner, Kastner further informs Lorraine of tunnels underneath his house and that the alter must be down there. He urges Lorraine to destroy it as the Satanist arrives and kills her father.
How do the Warrens survive?
Ed manages to enter the tunnel system in attempts to save his wife as well as Arne who is in possession of the entity summoned by the Satanist. Unfortunately for him, he gets possessed as well and goes on smashing everything in sight with a sledge hammer.
Meanwhile, Lorraine struggles to break the heavy alter and eventually gets attacked by her possessed husband. She runs away from him trying to break his trance but he eventually catches up to her.
As a last resort she reminds him of the first time they met and the love they share, freeing him of the Satanist’s control. Ed immediately uses the hammer to break the alter, breaking the curse, and saving Arne.
The Satanist appears for a final stand but is killed by the entity she summoned due to her failure of completing the curse.
In the final scene, it is revealed that Arne Johnson was not released but served only five years in prison. He married his girlfriend in jail and they are still married to this day.