If you like flickering lights, some gritty imagery and a whole lot of jump scares, this is your movie. If you want to be scared, go rent “The Exorcist.”
“Deliver Us From Evil” stars Eric Bana and is directed by Scott Derrickson (“Sinister”). The film is inspired by real life events and tells the story of New York police officer Ralph Sarchie. As Sarchie works various cases, he slowly descends into the world of demon possession. At first skeptical of the spiritual nature of the crimes he investigates, Sarchie meets Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez), an unconventional Catholic priest who specializes in the demonic. Sarchie finds himself working more and more with Mendoza and at last comes to terms with the demonic forces surrounding him and the city.
Yes, it’s another exorcism movie. And yes, it’s about as scary as someone holding a flashlight under their face and screaming boo. Someone in the audience even brought their baby to the movie – it’s that scary.
There’s an abundance of jump scares which are predictable and boring. This movie is the equivalent of looping a screamer video for two hours. They might as well have called it “Jump Scare: The Movie.”
To be fair, the film has some memorable and interesting moments. At one point, the audience is treated to the image of a crucified cat. Any love for cats aside, that was an awesome image. It was even reused during the end credits.
There’s also an exorcism in the film, which was depicted in the official trailer. It’s the most intense as well as frightening bit in the entire film. It was well done – though the flickering lights got to be a little much. The actor playing the possessed man is really convincing. The possessed man is unpredictable and the main characters work off each other very well. One could actually get invested in the film at this point – if not for the fact that this scene comes near the end.
“Deliver Us From Evil” has too many bad points for its good to overcome. The film could have been interesting and scarier if it worked harder. It’s a lazy horror flick that relies too much on scary faces and cliché musical cues.
It’s also an unpleasant reminder of how uninventive many films are today. Explosions do not make an action flick awesome. Sex does not make a love story romantic. And jump scares do not make a horror film scary.
There’s a fitting scene in the movie that explains why it doesn’t work. Sarchie is driving home when a little girl hits his windshield. She fell from a very tall building and, needless to say, she’s pulverized. Sarchie gets out of his vehicle and observes the wreck. However, he receives a call from his house and is told his wife and daughter have been kidnapped. Sarchie speeds away, sure to avoid the bloody mess that was a little girl.
That’s this movie. The audience gets to see a dead body here and there, but the director makes sure we speed away in time to catch what he considers the important stuff. We aren’t allowed to feel for or relate to these people – they’re just there because it’s a horror movie and horror movies need dead people.
Derrickson said working on this film deepened his Christian faith. Maybe he could have made the film so that his audience could feel what he felt. It’s hard to feel anything when jump scares dominate the picture.