Release Date: July 2, 2014
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris
Cast: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Chris Coy, Dorian Missick, Sean Harris, Joel McHale, Mike Houston, Lulu Wilson, Olivia Horton, Scott Johnsen, Daniel Sauli, Antoinette LaVecchia, Aidan Gemme, Jenna Gavigan, Skylar Toddings, Sebastian La Cause, Steve Hamm, Sean Nelson, Mari-Ange Ramirez, Ben Horner
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes
Production Company: Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Screen Gems
Distributors: Big Picture 2 Films, Columbia Pictures, InterCom, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Pictures Releasing, Universal Pictures International
Genre: Crime, Horror, Thriller
Today when a film states it’s based on a true story you have to read between the lines. Besides the filmmakers themselves, one can’t be too sure on how true the story being told really is. One needs to actually pay attention to the wording that’s presented and go from there. There are so many variations, and in this case it states ‘Inspired by the actual accounts of an NYPD Sergeant.’ That may be the case but where do you draw the line? Part of the marketing suggests that you should take it all for face value, though that can be difficult to do. I’m not saying the filmmakers are lying, but the way the story of ‘Deliver Us from Evil’ is being told, it contains some elements that wouldn’t have a perspective in the real world. It can be a frustrating experience seeing the truth stretched beyond measure. The film is slightly entertaining, especially towards the end. But to get there you have to take a long ride on a dull road that doesn’t bother to give you anything worthwhile.
Meet Sarchie (Eric Bana) a man distant from his family that puts his work first, and has no faith in God. Though you can’t blame his character from his recent past to have this mindset of a non-believer. He’s likeable to say the least, and seems to stand firm in his beliefs, only having faith in things he can physically touch or see with his own eyes. In the world he lives in you can understand where he comes from. When he’s provided with new information he respects his peers, but can be at times hard to convert over.
The story briefly introduces characters, then leaves them at the wayside only to bring them back in the end for the finale. This makes the film feel like they’re trying to force a story to tell rather than revealing what really happened. It’s possible they don’t really know. I only say this because from the perspective it’s being told from, there is no one there that could’ve actually taken notes. That’s either because they’re not there to witness, left for dead, or investigators (or in a sense the filmmakers) have to fill in the blanks themselves. Some people accomplish this with their daily jobs, but in this case it feels flat. There are moments when your interest is at most high, but you’re never given a character (other than Sarchie) who you really care about. Others are joking around playing with knives (as if they have a reset button on life), or disappear in the first act only to return in the end as I stated before.
As far as the film being as scary as the trailers and title cards suggests, it isn’t in the slightest. That’s no good sign in any direction especially if me, myself didn’t cringe. I only say that because I’m afraid of horror films, but this did nothing at all. After you’re teased with multiple build ups to scare chills down ones spine, you only get jump scare after jump scare of dogs and cats. Literally! Even if the proposed horror feature lingered on beyond something jumping out at the screen, it would fail because nothing is presented. You have to use your own imagination and fill in the blanks, due to only receiving demonic writings on walls, wondering exactly what they mean. Even a non-scary guy that flashes on screen with no real motive. This is supposed to be a demonic possession that’s contagious, spreading throughout the city. If such events occurred as they suggested, a mention in the World News would be in the air. Again, I hate to doubt the filmmakers, but it’s moments like this that run through your brain while trying piece the puzzle together.
The best part of the film was its ending. Not making a joke meaning when the credits took center stage, but the last scenes compiled together. It’s interesting but not scary, and even fits in a joke or two which can be very difficult when trying to create tension. It’s a fun scene if not taken too seriously, and that can be hard to accomplish when even one of the cast members suggested that 90% of demonic possessions are bogus. That may have been a plug to suggest how real this exorcism is, but only leaves doubts in your mind.
I’m not saying one can’t find a good time with ‘Deliver Us from Evil’, but I personally did not. While some characters say, “you haven’t met true evil” the film never gives examples of such claims. Those accounts are glossed over to tell a barely interesting story, but gets extremely boring at times. Every time you’re promised a worthy scene it doesn’t deliver anything but useless gags that in the end become an annoyance. Things finally pay off in the last act, but that can’t pick up all the slack from the beginnings. It’s not a scary film at all, and if that’s what you’re going in for be warned. Though if this peaks your interest from your own background, you may have a great time as it does cover a multitude of locations. Then throws a strict police investigation into that mix that possibly hasn’t been done on the big screen in past years.