DVD REVIEW: DELIVER US FROM EVIL / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: SCOTT DERRICKSON / SCREENPLAY: SCOTT DERRICKSON, PAUL HARRIS BOARDMAN / STARRING: ERIC BANA, EDGAR RAMIREZ, OLIVIA MUNN, CHRIS COY / RELESE DATE: JANUARY 5TH
From the director of Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Deliver Us from Evil is about a veteran member of the South Bronx precinct, NYPD Sgt. Ralph Sarchie (Bana), who has seen more than his share of dark and horrifying events in his line of work, and many of which have begun to poison his soul. Sarchie soon finds his beliefs and understandings pushed to the very limit when he and his partner investigate a bizarre incident involving demonic possession. He then forms an alliance with a renegade priest (Ramirez), who tries to convince Sarchie of the existence of real evil, as well as demons.
The director, Scott Derrickson, is no stranger for creating dark spooky houses, particularly in Sinister where the house in that film suffered from serious electrical problems. Yet with all his films, once you come out of them, you feel like they have amounted to not very much. Apparently, this is based on real life events, which is really a very generous assessment of its relationship with real life. There are spooky setups that are intercut with gags, and then tension is built up very slowly, which then results in a false scare. Then, something really horrible and nasty happens, which culminates with the big fright, and the film repeats this cycle over and over again, which does make the film somewhat repetitive in terms of its narrative.
Despite that, however, there are some interesting ideas at the heart of the film. At the very beginning, we witness soldiers in Iraq accidently unlocking this buried evil and then coming back from that transformed into different people. That has connections to PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), and there are also elements that wouldn’t look out of place in TV’s True Detective. What that show did was dealing with ancient evils being unlocked and manifesting in the modern world, and being stumbled upon by detectives that are used to seeing horrible things happening and are being unable at first to discern the supernatural evil from the natural evil.
There are small echoes of that in this film, but yet it goes for full on horror and exorcism, and what the film could’ve needed was more ambiguity in its horror like True Detective, but it doesn’t feel like it had the confidence to do that. It seemed to be like as if it was trying to be both Seven and The Exorcist, and as a result, ends up being neither. Perfectly okay, if ultimately unforgettable.
Special Features: TBC
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