I checked out the latest Exorcism flick Deliver Us From Evil last weekend.
NYPD officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) teams up with an unorthodox priest (Édgar Ramírez) when he discovers that a series of crimes in the city may be of demonic origin.
Now, I know the track record of Hollywood “possession” films has been abysmal of late, but I don't think this one was as bad as some made it out to be. I'll only defend Deliver Us From Evil so far, but when you're using stuff like The Devil's Due and The Devil Inside as a measuring stick, this one looks pretty darn rosy.
In terms of the filmmaking, Scott Derrickson has a pretty competent hand on the proceedings – as he should having previously done last year's almost-good Sinister and the solid Exorcism of Emily Rose – even if the action sequences seemed a little clumsy. As for scare set pieces, there were quite a few decent ones, but, as expected these days, most were spied in the trailer. Most of the scares were the cheap jump scare variety, but Derrickson did attempt to build atmosphere, as well. I did also appreciate that when the story concluded, it just finished. There was no bullshit twist, no final jump scare and no “please visit our website” shenanigans. The credits rolled, just like they're supposed to.
I think the main reason I regarded this higher than a lot of the possession dreck that gets a wide release, was the cast. There are some good performances here (Bana, Ramírez and Olivia Munn chief among them) that gave some weight to the proceedings, which largely consisted of A to B to C stuff. They elevated the piece far beyond what they were given to work with.
And by given, I obviously mean the script, as it's clunky, disjointed and meandering. It's all good and well to say that the movie is based on real accounts of an NYPD detective, but that doesn't really make a film. I felt like they took a few cool and creepy anecdotes and then shoehorned them into two other movies. That would explain why the Deliver Us From Evil is two hours long, which, for the record, is way too hefty for a genre film, especially one that relies so heavily on jump scares and sustaining chills.
|I love this little guy!|
Now, let me get to perhaps the most important thing. Joel McHale was in this movie as Bana's wise-cracking partner! How is this not more of a thing? He has the seven deadly sins tattooed on the back of his neck and has a knife fight with the villain in the last act. Best timeline ever!
Lastly, any Doors fans in the house? Take note, as the band featured heavily into the plot. Doors. Portals. Gateways. Get it? It's like when that Jimmy Hendrix song showed up on BSG. Totally random. Yet in this movie, where pretty much anything can be explained away, I guess it makes perfect sense.
So, I will have probably forgotten about Deliver Us From Evil by the end of the summer, but it certainly had its moments. I think there was a decent movie in here somewhere, but it just got bogged down by the tired theatrics of all that have come before it.