Crime, Demons, Horror, Supernatural

Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

Comments Off on Deliver Us From Evil (2014) 02 January 2015

Deliver Us From Evil CoverStudio: Sony

Theatrical Release: July 2nd, 2014

Blu-Ray Release: October 28th, 2014

Rating: R

Directed by Scott Derrickson

Review by Craig Sorensen

Possession films seem to be all the rage (along with zombies) these days.  Why?  I could only speculate.  But the fact remains that we are in a bit of a glut.  So, let’s add another one to the pile!  Deliver Us From Evil is, I suppose, a perfectly competent film.  It’s entertaining enough and has a couple of good performances at it’s core, it’s just so absolutely unremarkable that it’s hard to recommend.  Why choose this one over, say, The Last Exorcism?

Eric Bana (Hanna) plays Sarchie, a big bundle of cop clichés working the hard streets of the Bronx.  I don’t know how hard the Bronx are in 2014 but that’s beside the point.  So Sarchie and his partner Butler (Joel McHale of Open Season 2), a big bundle of cop partner clichés, stumble on a big case involving Iraq war vets, ancient graffiti and women throwing their babies into lion pits at the zoo.  They’ll need the help of cool priest Mendoza (Édgar Ramirez of Wrath of the Titans) to tie it all together with an ancient, arcane tradition known as Catholicism.  There also might be an ‘exorcism’.  Do you think that Joel McHale is going to make it to the end of this movie without sacrificing himself to the main character’s motivation?

As I said before, Deliver Us From Evil is competently made.  It looks nice, sounds nice and has some decent performances.  The script isn’t the worst for what it is I guess.  Everything is dripping in clichés of course but sometimes that can be entertaining by itself.  Not good, but entertaining.  And that’s the problem I guess.  With a better script, one that doesn’t rely totally on cop and exorcist movie clichés to inform it’s world view, it could have probably been a good film.  I do think that the basic idea (Serpico meets The Exorcist according to producer Jerry Bruckheimer) is inherently silly but that shouldn’t stand in the way.  Plenty of movies sound silly when describing them to people.  I think that people tend to forget what made something like the Exorcist so groundbreaking.  It’s not that it’s filled with bad camera tricks and clever one liners.  It’s incredibly grounded.  In order for the supernatural to pack a punch, the film is simply told.  The performances are realistic and many of the actors are not hot models.  It’s fairly simple and understated and the supernatural creeps into the film kind of slowly.  If you base your film in Lethal Weapon land from the beginning, you’re already knee deep in an unnatural environment.  The supernatural has no impact.  Still, the film is enteraining I guess and there are a few good special effects shots here and there.  It’s also nice that the film is rated R and not PG-13 like most films these days.  I mean, it doesn’t feel like the film was written for (or by) adults but it’s a nice gesture. 

Sony’s Blu-Ray looks and sounds great, as should be expected.  Sony usually delivers good transfers for their new films and catalog titles alike.  Colors are, of course, muted browns and blues for the most part but they are accurately reproduced.  You also get a nice 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio mix.  I mean, it’s a new feature so everything looks and sounds pretty good.  I’d be more surprised if it looked and sounded like shit.  You also get a decent amount of special features.  You get a making-of video, a short discussing Eric Bana working on his character with the real Sergeant Sarchie, and one video about the real Sarchie’s adventures in demonology.  You also get theatrical trailers of course, and about 15 minutes of trailers to sit through before the film begins.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

- who has written 151 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

Craig hails from 'Parts Unknown'.

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