It’s beginning to feel a lot like television. Rather than spend 30 minutes each week watching Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) solve real-life mysteries on a fictional cable show (Curse Breakers?), New Line drops semi-annual theatrical installments from the seemingly limitless Conjuring universe. It’s 1981, and it appears as if Max Von Sydow’s Father Merrin is making another haunted house call. Our demon-displacing lovebirds track Satan as he transports from an eight-year-old boy: after a dip in a waterbed for the film’s one legitimate fright, it’s time for a brief respite inside the body of Arne (Ruairi O’Connor). While in the devil’s grip, Arne stabs his landlord 22 times. This was the first case in history in which Beelzebub took the stand and demonic possession was put on trial. One has to hand it to these priests and their ability to stand, with outstretched crucifixes, in the face of the demonically high-powered wind machine that replicates the bellows of hell. But as a viewer, it’s getting pretty old. And fans of Flip Wilson will no doubt leave disappointed. Directed by Michel Chaves (The Curse of la Llorona). (2021) — Scott Marks
This movie is not currently in theaters.