Blu-ray Review: The Devil Inside / Cert: 15 / Director: William Brent Bell / Screenplay: William Brent Bell, Matthew Peterman / Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quaterman, Evan Helmuth, Ionut Grama / Release Date: Out Now
The Devil Inside opened up to pretty good business last winter before ending with a link to a website which caused a massive outcry and a claim that cinema goers were being ripped off. The outcry was a little over the top truthfully because by the time this link appears on the screen the film feels like it has reached its natural conclusion. So with that out of the way we can enjoy The Devil Inside for what it is; a massively flawed film which isn’t as bad as you have heard but isn’t anywhere near a good film.
The film concerns a lady named Isabel Rossi whose mother Maria went on a kill crazy rampage during a supposed exorcism back in 1989. The subject of demonic possession is mentioned but glossed over even when the woman is whisked over to Italy to be admitted to a Vatican sanctioned mental home. We follow Isabel and a documentary crew who go to Rome, visit her mother and then follow a couple of priests, who come across like ‘Exorcism Cops’ and go round expelling evil from young girls. Eventually the priests are convinced to exorcise Isabel’s mother and this is where it all goes wrong both for the audience and the characters.
The first half of The Devil Inside is actually pretty good, it has some dodgy acting from the leads but it has some great scares and the exorcism scenes are actually the creepiest and most effective since William Friedkin started this whole thing back in the ‘70s. Suzan Crowley is especially impressive as Maria Rossi, managing to convince as a woman with a world of pain inside her and managing a range of convincing accents and voices.
Where it all falls apart is in the second half as the exorcist priests come into focus. Were you to believe the world set up in this film, then something denied by the catholic church at large and yet taught in lessons at the Vatican is something that is happening all over the place, even five minutes from your door. Going back to The Exorcist for a minute, in that film we were lead to believe that getting a church sanctioned exorcism going was very difficult. Evidently it’s become easier because possession is more common than a runny nose in Rome.
To make things worse, suddenly different demons are leaping from body to body come the last thirty minutes and the found footage format does nothing except add a whole lot of confusion to proceedings.
The Devil Inside at its core was a nice idea, however a little more subtlety would have gone a long way.
Special Features: None