Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

September 26, 2014

Devil’s (not) in the detail

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:32 pm

September 26, 2014

Cast: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Joel McHale, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris

Director: Scott Derrickson

Deliver Us From Evil is supposedly inspired by true events, although you’ll be hard pressed to guess what portions in this fairly routine demonic-possession film could possibly be rooted in reality. Director Scott Derrickson employs all the usual clichés of the genre – bats, Latin verses, little children in peril, and screeching cats – to cook up a reasonably creepy first hour. But he can’t seem to prevent the film from sinking into an abyss of predictability as it plods into its third act.

Eric Bana puts in a sincere performance playing hardened NYPD cop Ralph Sarchie, who appears to have a ‘radar’ when it comes to detecting sinister crimes. This keeps him busy in his South Bronx precinct, where he becomes involved in a series of increasingly strange events, including the investigation of a mother who flings her baby near the lions’ den at the zoo. Things become clearer when he meets Rev Joe Mendonza (Edgar Ramirez), a chain-smoking, hard-drinking priest who’s convinced that these hideous incidents are linked to a malevolent presence.

Unsettling but never terrifying, the film doesn’t deliver the same punch Derrickson gave us with his far superior previous films, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister. An attempt to link the songs of The Doors into the film’s horror plot is misguided and laughable at best, while the big exorcism scene in the climax – although impressively staged – feels just too long to hold your attention.

I’m going with two out of five for Deliver Us From Evil. There are some interesting themes at play, but sadly they aren’t explored with much inventiveness.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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