HOLLYWOOD—Can you believe it we have already reached the third installment in “The Conjuring” franchise? The first flick which arrived in 2013 was full of surprises and spine-chilling terror. The 2016 sequel “The Conjuring 2” was an epic sequel in my opinion, turning up the horror to new heights. So what about this third installment, “The Devil Made Me Do It?” It is chilling, but not as riveting as its predecessors.

What each “Conjuring” film has done exceptionally well is its opening sequence. The first one involving Annabelle was chilling, the second delved into the Amityville Horror and this third chapter dealt with the exorcism of David Glatzel who is 8. This opening sequence is gripping, scary as hell and just fantastic. After this opening, the movie doesn’t deliver the punch as strong as I wish, but it does work. It really relies on a mystery tale that has a few mysteries within the mystery. The audience is not treated to its typical haunted house and uncovering those secrets. I love a good haunted house flick because it allows the unearthing of unfamiliar things.

This movie does hold your attention, but it also becomes messy at times and can lose your interest as we examine the tale involving Arne Johnson who murdered a man and for the first time in American history, a defendant argued that he was not guilty for murder. Johnson murdered a man who was stabbed over 20 times, as a direct result of demonic possession. Yes, we have seen possession type flicks before in “The Conjuring” universe, but this third one taps into a world of witchcraft, black magic and curses.

The curse aspect is a different tone, but it’s the acting from Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) that excels for the flick. Farmiga and Wilson are excellent in the roles people and they continue to push the narrative when at times it loses a bit of steam. There is a bit of a setback for the couple as a result of Ed being injured during that exorcism with David. Again, that opening sequence has it all and it literally will leave your mouth aghast; it is that exciting people.

When Lorraine and Ed discover that the demon that was inside David has jumped into Arne it becomes a mission to discover how this curse reached the Glatzel family and how they can break it before it ultimately leads to Arne taking his life if the demon has its way. That mystery gets tangled with another mystery involving a murder and disappearance that is connected to Arne. Two stories are intersecting where they work, but it’s NOT as strong as previous flicks in the franchise.

Are there spooky moments in this film? Yes, but they are far and in between one another; they are not as consistent as in previous installments, where each scare topped the previous scare. The chills come vastly in the first act of the movie and then the third act. In addition, the suspense is NOT as intense as in previous chapters. That could be a direct result of James Wan not having a hand in directing duties. Wan directed the first two flicks where he captures the suspense and storytelling aspect in a way that is exciting, poignant and thrilling.

Violence wise the film is slightly tame beyond that initial murder that Arne commits, but it relies on the mystery within a mystery element a lot more to push the story. That might be a slight mistake because when the story is simple it is much easier to follow. “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” works, but it is not as strong as its predecessor. With that said, don’t be surprised if we get a fourth chapter in the franchise as a direct result of the horror flick’s box-office success.