Sunday, July 06, 2014

Deliver Us From Evil

Year: 2014
Director: Scott Derrickson
Cast: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Joel McHale, Sean Harris, Olivia Horton

Plot: An NYPD cop teams up with an unconventional priest to solve a series of demonic possessions happening in the Bronx.

Review: Deliver Us From Evil is inspired by actual accounts of Sgt Ralph Sarchie, a New York cop who had written a book about his encounters. Usually the Hollywood version is largely exaggerated for our entertainment, but it's fine by me if it works. In this case, it hits more than it misses.

Eric Bana plays Sarchie, who takes on the case of a possessed woman throwing her child into the lion's den at the zoo. He thinks she's just crazy, but Father Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez) believes demons are involved. Further investigations reveal even more strange and sickening things going on, and Sarchie is forced to find his own faith in God again to solve the mystery, especially when his family gets into harm's way.

Scott Derrickson, who directed the really creepy Sinister, directs this one not on a low budget, but with the high production values of the one and only Jerry Bruckheimer. As a result, the quality looks a bit more slick, with set design and cinematography looking good. Bana and Ramirez make a great team together, the former as the tough cop who has to confront something he's not ready to believe in, and the latter as the renegade priest who has his own sordid past. Joel McHale is solid as Sarchie's adrenaline junkie partner, but credit must be given to Sean Harris and Olivia Horton as the possessed victims. They're awesome in making themselves looking batshit crazy and creepy at the same time.

The film is flawed in certain departments though. Sarchie's strained relationship with his wife and daughter seem tacked on, and it doesn't help that Olivia Munn's performance as said wife is rather weak. Derrickson also resorts to using plenty of jump scares to spook the audience instead of creating a sense of fear as he did in Sinister. Most of the jump scares were predictable, so it didn't quite work for me. However he redeems himself in the final exorcism scene, which looks pretty cool.

Deliver Us From Evil may not be a groundbreaking horror film (there aren't many new ways to scare people anymore), but it's solid entertainment anyway. It's no Exorcist, but it's quite watchable. (3.5/5) 

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