Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Horror is one of those genres that tend to be very subjective. Not everyone has the same opinion in regards to what they find scary, it’s along the same lines of comedy. The Exorcist is hailed as the scariest and also the greatest horror films of all time. I love The Exorcist and I think that it defines the horror genre. Recently I can’t say that I have the same opinion of horror movies now. They like to thrive of jump scares instead of having subtle terror that causes chills to crawl down your arms. The last one that really caused me to experience fear and that was The Ring, which I will not watch to this day again. Surprisingly enough I feel that Scott Derrickson has a great understanding of horror, though he still does rely on jump scares but the way that he uses atmosphere and sound to frighten you is something horror movies have been lacking a lot recently. Sinister is one of my favorite horror movies recently and I think it is actually terrifying until the rushed ending. Deliver Us From Evil follows suit with Sinister, it has a lot of flaws in its first two acts that really bothers me but once you get to the end you completely forget about that and experience one the greatest exorcism scenes that I’ve seen.
Apparently based on the true story of New York cop Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) and his experience with renegade priest Father Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez). After responding to a dispatch involving a woman who threw her baby into a ravine at the local zoo. At first Sarchie believes that the woman is on drugs but as the case deepens he realizes that some much more sinister and evil is at work.
With the help of Mendoza he begins to find clues revolving around a disgraced former Iraq solider and the evil spirit that dwells with in him. As the case goes on Ralph begins experiencing strange events regarding his past and his family. To stop the evil at hand Ralph has to confess his sins that haunt him and ultimately become a better man if he every wants to stop the possessed solider.
The problems that I have towards todays horror movies are all still present here and it really detracts from the experience. For the first two acts jump scares are the thing but the mystery behind the movie is a lot more intriguing than the movie itself. I never felt that it was never meant to be an actual horror movie but instead just a typical thriller with a much more haunting presence. Much like Seven, the story follows the search for a killer that they can’t seem to catch. It’s interesting when they decide to do this with a killer possessed by a demon and I think that’s the biggest strength of the film.
My biggest problems really brought it down but the stuff I like I really loved and it’s conflict in the final result and makes it hard to grade. Every time that Joel McHale’s character, Ralph’s partner Butler, is on screen makes me hate this movie more. He’s trying to be the comic relief in a movie that doesn’t require it and truly isn’t a welcome addition to the movie. It seems that every horror film now always feature the family troubles with the main character and the demon always comes for the characters family in the end and that’s another cliche that should be in a movie that tries to be completely different than similar movies. You could completely trim 15 minutes from this movie and they’d have a solid movie.
What I did like is Scott Derrickson’s control of the camera and the way that he can makes any atmosphere into something truly creepy. In Sinister he was able to make a small house into something that made house into something truly creepy and claustrophobic. The atmosphere of this movie is beyond perfect. Derrickson has me convinced that New York is terrifying place to be, with constant raining and the harsh shadows, and that’s where the films power lies in creating a terrifying canvas of a city that is manipulated to serve the story and the mood they are trying to convey. Unlike Sinister this movie had a rough first two acts and a strong third act which completely changed my opinion on the movie in the end. The exorcism scene is by far one of the most terrifying scenes in a horror film to date and really completed a movie that really needed the help. It does end a little abruptly but it works for the overall narrative and makes the movie one to see. The chemistry between Bana and Ramírez also makes it more interesting to watch the two interact, especially in the final act.
If you are a true fan of horror movies or are looking for a movie to watch on a Friday night than you can’t really go wrong with this. It’s a flawed yet entertaining horror film that delivers a very strong finally.