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Review: Deliver Us From Evil

Deliver Us From Evil
07.01.2014
7 10

PLOT: A lapsed-Catholic NYPD officer (Eric Bana) struggles with his faith upon discovering a grisly series of events that a rogue priest (Edgar Ramirez) says are related to demonic possession.

REVIEW: DELIVER US FROM EVIL is another one of those “inspired by true events” horror movies, where that claim seems highly dubious. This is a marketing hook as old as horror movies themselves, but then again, isn’t it kind of fun to think things like this can actually happen? DELIVER US FROM EVIL is pretty solid as far as recent horror movies go. Refreshingly R-rated, and free of the found-footage trend, this is almost a throwback in that it’s so straight-forward. If it had come out fifteen years ago, I doubt anyone would have really taken much notice of it. Nowadays, it seems almost like a minor miracle that a horror movie with this kind of A-list cast and top production values could ever squeak its way through the studio system.

For director Scott Derrickson, this is a long-awaited return to the demonic possession genre, which he skillfully navigated with THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, before taking a sojourn into tentpoles with the DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL remake, and microbudget horror with SINISTER. He feels right at home here, with the added attraction of this having a slick blockbuster sheen thanks to none other than Jerry Bruckheimer on board as producer.

This is a kind of horror-police procedural hybrid, with Bana starring as a Bronx cop with a sixth sense for mayhem, which he calls his “radar”. Along with his adrenaline junkie partner (played by a buffed-up Joel McHale – surprisingly effective in a mostly straight part), the two discover a weird series of violent attacks related to the homecoming of a trio of soldiers dishonourably discharged from the marines after a disastrous tour of duty in Iraq.

Bana, who’s been pretty low-key over the last few years, is back in top form as the family man hero, ably supported by Olivia Munn as his good-natured wife. If there’s a weakness to Bana’s part it’s that he can’t help but be totally overwhelmed by co-star Edgar Ramirez. Ramirez previously made a splash in CARLOS, and it’s no surprise he got snapped up to take the Patrick Swayze part in the POINT BREAK remake, as he’s insanely charismatic. Here he plays a chain-smoking, alcoholic priest with a dark history of drug abuse and womanizing, who tries to redeem himself through work as a demonologist. The “priest on the edge” aspect of the story could have come off as ridiculously goofy, but Ramirez is a guy you can't help but take seriously, and he throws his formidable talent into the part.

Scott Derrickson's stylish direction, coupled with the “horror on steroids” Jerry Bruckheimer-vibe, gives DELIVER US FROM EVIL an elevated feel distinguishing it from other EXORCIST-clones like THE POSSESSION or THE APPARITION. This is totally B-movie fare, but throwing A plus production-value at it overcomes some of the goofier bits, such as a plot that can't help but come off as convoluted.

The last twenty-or-so minutes are particularly diverting, with an exorcism which is undoubtedly the best I've seen since the gory one in THE EXORCIST 3 (an underrated movie), boosted by amazing gore effects, solid sound design, and a great physical performance by Brit actor Sean Harris (SOUTHCLIFFE, RED RIDING). While the claims of authenticity will no doubt be ludicrous to anyone but the most devoted “Coast-to-Coast” listener, DELIVER US FROM EVIL is still a pretty good horror yarn, and well worth seeing for Bana, Ramirez, and the climax, making this an easy recommendation. While the procedural and supernatural aspects don't always gel, DELIVER US FROM EVIL is one of the rare studio horror films that mostly gets the genre right.

Source: JoBlo.com

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