He Said, She Said at the Movies: Deliver Us From Evil Review - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

He Said, She Said at the Movies: Deliver Us From Evil Review

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I promised you I would go see “Tammy” this week, but the reviews have been terrible and I don’t think I could risk seeing something as awful as “Transformers: Age of Extinction” back to back. So I switched gears and went to see “Deliver Us From Evil”, which tells the story of NYPD officer Ralph Sarchie (a real person played by Eric Bana in the movie) who investigates a series of crimes that seem to involve powers greater than man. He ends up joining forces with an unconventional priest (Edgar Ramirez) to combat demonic possession. Horror movies in my opinion are unfairly scrutinized by critics. Too much emphasis is placed on critique of the story and character development. Does anyone really think they know Laurie Strode from Halloween (Jamie Lee Curtis)? She’s a normal babysitter who fights against evil to do the right thing. She’s relatable and as far as I’m concerned if you deliver good scares and you have a believable enough protagonist, that’s enough for me. This isn’t existential cinema. There’s a reason Woody Allen doesn’t do horror.

It’s a watered down genre, I’ll give critics that. But there are some innovative filmmakers out there making scary movies and “Deliver Us From Evil” features one of the best around. Directed by Scott Derrickson, who helmed “Sinister,” another solid horror film recently, “Deliver Us From Evil” is a confident, well-edited and legitimately scary movie. That’s the point right? We want horror movies to scare us. Yes, the movie features some old cop movie clichés and procedural drama that would be tired if this were a run of the mill police drama. But it’s not. It’s a movie with incredible tension, terrifying atmosphere and grounded performances, led by the consistent Eric Bana and the beautiful and surprisingly talented actress Olivia Munn (this isn’t the G4TV host anymore, she can act). Joel McHale, yes Joel McHale “The Soup” host plays his partner. While he isn’t asked to do much real acting, he provides much needed comedic relief for a film that doesn’t mess around. “Deliver Us From Evil” is relentless.

Earlier this week, I highlighted an example of a movie where being relentless can be a bad thing i.e. the excessive explosions in Transformers 4. Here, the movie is relentless in its pacing and energy. I can’t remember a single scene in this movie where I wasn’t squirming, and I’m man enough to admit I let out more than a few effeminate squeals. Derrickson films the majority of the scenes in poor lighting and he’s not afraid to pull out the music all together, leaving only the rustling of shoes and environmental sounds. Then, when the scare happens and the volume is ratcheted up a few notches, it really packs a punch when it hits the audience. If a movie is constantly loud, or relies too heavily on music, it’s pretty hard to build any tension or suspense.

This isn’t a strictly gory film. It builds fear through perfectly timed scares and a story grounded in reality. Having said that it’s a hard R movie, and parents should steer their kids away from this one. ADULTS ONLY. Even at age 25, I found myself looking for the exits, my heart pounding so loud I could hear it over the movie at certain points. I don’t know how much of the movie is based on actual events. Sure, Ralph Sarchie is a real guy and he’s now a demonologist after retiring from the force. That much is true. I’m sure Derrickson took some of the elements of cases Sarchie worked on with the NYPD and exaggerated them to make a good movie. That’s how it works folks. Sometimes the facts are boring, and I get annoyed when people complain the director took too many liberties with the true story. I doubt a lot of this stuff actually happened, but I plan on reading Sarchie’s book to find out. As a movie, it really works and I hope Derrickson continues to be a force in a genre lacking creativity. Here’s hoping more surprises are in store for 2014. FULL PRICE.

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