Hard nose NY police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) tackles a slew of odd cases that seem to be unrelated. Thatâ€™s until badass, chain-smoking priest Father Mendoza (Ă‰dgar Ramirez) gets into the mix and by consequence gives Sarchie a bigger and more â€śout thereâ€ť picture to take into consideration. You'll need a gun AND a crucifix for these cases!
I love the cop subgenre and I obviously dig horror as well and when they’re mixed together you can often get a heavy hitter. Funnily enough, I was sure there were countless supernatural 5.0. movies out there, but top of my head I could only think of four: the tight GOD TOLD ME TO (1976), the fun THE FIRST POWER (1990
), the groovy FALLEN (1998) and the so-so END OF DAYS (1999)
. And you can now jack that up to five with Scott Derrickson’s latest DELIVER US FROM EVIL.
This bad-boy has been top of my MUST SEE list all year and I finally got to arrest the sucker yesterday. So did it deliver me from not enough horror this summer (lame I know, all I got today, can you come up with a better pun)? Read on!
Loosely inspired by real life police officer Ralph Sarchie's memoirs in his 2001 book "Beware the Night" (which was the film’s original title BTW); DELIVER US FROM EVIL so did it for me. It was my kind of picture through and through and here’s why! First and foremost, it gave me two well developed lead characters to root for. Eric Bana is one of my favorite actors and his portrayal of Sarchie was on the nose and engaging to say the least. Bana had the Brooklyn accent down pat, conveyed the character’s many layers with gusto and I personally related with his role: good heart but with lots of anger and guilt bottled up inside. On top of Bana’s excellent performance, the film’s exploration of Sarchie, his gradual belief in the supernatural and his gripes with his faith had me by the boulders. In fact the first thing that popped in my head after leaving the theatre was: “maybe its time for me to go to confession again”. Any movie that makes me think that way did something right!
Bana had top notch support from Édgar Ramirez as Father Mendoza who challenged Father Karras of THE EXORCIST as the coolest priest to ever grace the silver screen. He chained smoked and boxed (much like Father Karras) and came with his own set of sins that stirred me when revealed. Ramirez was intense, affable and totally involved in the role. Word has it that he prepped up big time for it and you know what it showed via his EXCELLENT showcase. So with two powerhouse leads in place (who shared an electrifying chemistry together if I may add); it was hard for the film to do wrong, and thankfully for me, it came through on pretty much every aspect. The affair had a smooth and effortless pace while Derrickson gunned out a gritty, dread filled yet somewhat polished look. He didn’t hold back on the horrific scenarios either (this was one was pretty gory with superb makeup FX by Mike Marino; Rated R baby, a film for grown ups) and his random stylish angles/shots and high impact slow motion/plays with focus hit home. I wouldn’t say that the film was uber scary but it was definitely unnerving and suspenseful (all about that Zoo scene... shudder).
Moreover I really dug how they went about the possession/exorcism angle. I mean we’ve seen it a thousand times before, but the origin of the evil here, the themes that came with it (What was up with the cat motif? Well played!), the axis on action driven conflicts and even the actual exorcisms themselves felt fresh. Tag to all that quality some pretty enthralling fights/chases (loved the knife stuff), biting dialogue, Joel McHale coming through as Bana’s partner in the badass (Who knew?) and the organic comic relief department, Sean Harris making for a chilling villain, superior sound design that crawled under my skin, a clever use of music by THE DOORS and yet another one-two-bam-to-the-mat horror score by Christopher Young and you get an elevated and well put together horror/action film that left me mucho satisfied!
Any complaints? A few but nothing critical. At about 20 minutes in the chain of events became fairly predictable. I saw where the story was going and pretty much second guessed its every turn the whole way. It didn’t hinder my enjoyment much, being that the ride itself was so stellar, but it needed to be elbow dropped. Finally I wish the wife/kid subplot would have been fleshed out and explored further or simply nixed out. Cause as-is, it felt more like a set up for an eventual plot device than an actual worthy subplot that brought anything substancial to the story or/and the characters. On that it must be said that the lovely Olivia Munn was pretty damn good in her first horror film – I just wished she had more to do.
Overall DELIVER US FROM EVIL was a well written/shot/acted genre vie-grip that worked me right on many levels! As a thrilling cop picture, an eerie horror film and a compelling drama. Hope y’all dig it as much as I did!
We get putrid cadavers, lots of blood, nasty cuts/bites and more that I wonâ€™t reveal in the name of not spoiling. The flick didnâ€™t go overboard but it didnâ€™t hold back either and I respect it for it.
None. Even Munn kept her clothes on...bummer!
Itâ€™s THE EXORCIST meets SEVEN! DELIVER US FROM EVIL pretty much had all of its bases covered. It sported two strong leads with great chemistry in Bana and Ramirez, a gripping story that moved forward at an even pace, powerful dramatic/action/horror scenes, a stylish directing style from Derrickson, bleak mood galore, some nifty ideas and a sound design/score that upped the filmâ€™s creepy factor 10 fold. Granted the film was fairly predictable in terms of its chain of events and the wife/kid subplot aka plot device was the weakest thing here, but on the whole, I loved it! A cop movie with balls, a drama with heart and a horror film with flair all rolled up in one! Iâ€™ll be getting the Blu-Ray, will be buying Christopher Young's soundtrack and the next book I will read is Beware the Night by Ralph Sacchie! I'm all in baby! Kudos to all and thank you for the fine flick!
Mark Wahlberg was offered Bana's role but passed. Good Bana was a better choice IMO!
It kind bummed me out that the howl doll made the ah-ah-oo sound twice in the trailer but only once in the film. Come on! ;)
The film was shot mostly on location in The Bronx, New York, USA.