Thursday, October 30, 2014

31 Days of Horror-Day 30: Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

(dir. Scott Derrickson)

*First time viewing

     Deliver Us From Evil is inspired by the accounts of NYPD officer and demonologist, Ralph Sarchie, who partnered up with a Jesuit priest to deal with paranormal occurrences in New York. The film (which is completely fictional and not based on an actual case) follows Sarchie as he tracks down three war vets who encountered something demonic in a cave in Iraq. With the help of a priest, Sarchie comes to terms with his own lack of faith and the crime of vengeance he committed years ago, in order to stop the rise of demonic forces in the Bronx.

     If I’m going to be completely honest, there really wasn’t and still isn’t a need for any exorcism movies after William Friedkin’s The Exorcist. That movie covered all the basics and delivered the best possible exploration into that specific subject. Sure, I’ve enjoyed a number of the exorcism movies that followed, but with the understanding they were simply borrowing from Friedkin’s film.  Deliver Us From Evil is no different in terms of its influence. It still follows many of the same clichés, but it’s clear that Derrickson at least attempts to do something a little different by blending multiple genre clichés together. It’s not memorable, but it did hold my interest for the most part.

    The story is often cluttered by its desire to be too many things. It’s an exorcist story, a redemption story for both a cop and a priest, a heavy-handed metaphor for PTS in a post-9/11 world, and a traditional procedural crime-thriller.  There’s a lot going on in this, which sometimes causes the central storyline to become lost in the shuffle. And yet, it is this shuffle of too many elements that make the film more interesting than just another typical tale of possession. Deliver Us From Evil takes a more personal look at its characters than most modern horror films, and it’s an admirable effort. While it doesn’t entirely succeed as a crime or horror film, it is one of the better exorcism efforts to break away from the found-footage formula.

Scare Factor: 2/5 Even though the movie is too long and filled with too many subplots to consistently build tension and terror, Derrickson creates a great sense of atmosphere. The movie is nowhere near as successful as his previous film, Sinister, but it’s entertaining and contains solid performances from Bana and Ramirez. While you won’t see anything new, Deliver Us From Evil offers some creepy moments if you want to get your exorcism fix in with a newer release. And after all, it is the day before Halloween, “what an excellent day for an exorcism.”

**Available at Redbox

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