After the success horror genre had last year, it should come as no surprise that studios are now trying to emulate that accomplishment. Enter “Deliver us from Evil”.
This film introduces us to no nonsense tough New York cops Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) and his partner Butler (Joel McHale). The two of them begin an investigation of a series of disturbing and bizarre violent crimes involving former soldiers. While Ralph also tries to face his inner “demons” that have plagued him for years. Along the road, they meet and join forces with an unconventional priest (Edgar Ramirez), whose belief in demons and exorcism challenges the beliefs of both police men.
The story starts of slow and keeps this pace throughout the first half of 118 minutes, all along building up the creepiness and inevitable doom that we all know is coming. While the majority of the film is slow, and intense, there are some gory bits at the second half of the film that come at unexpected times.
This film is predominantly shot at night time, in old buildings, during a grey New York winter – it clearly sets the tone of story from the very beginning. Even clothes worn by the actors are all designed to compliment the dark and gritty tone.
“Deliver us from Evil” does well in building up the creepy element. Not only via the cinematography and tone, but by the use of seemly innocent toys, playing on our fears of the dark, noises that we all heard at one time or another, and most importantly the element of surprise. A lot of horror movies use music to warn the audience that something is about to happen, “Deliver us from Evil” saves us from that cliché, instead opting to scare the viewers when everyone least expect it.
Eric Bana is believable as the “gifted” yet sceptical New York cop struggling to keep his family safe, while also working on the unusual case. He pretty much has to carry the entire story, which is not an easy task in a movie like this. What I initially considered an interesting choice of casting, Joel McHale, whom we all know him as the funny guy on The Soup, turned out to work rather well. He isn’t quite as believable in his “tough” tattooed up cop role, but it soon becomes clear why he was chosen. He delivers some humour to the story.
The film falters when strong religious aspects are introduced. While it can be argued that “Deliver us from Evil” is simply sticking to the book it’s “loosely” based on, surely Hollywood could have taken some artistic licence and explore the theme in a different manner. This film purely relies on Catholicism to conclude the story line, which becomes extremely rushed and anti-climactic, especially after all the lead up. The connection between felines and demons hinted in the film is also rather unoriginal and borders on absurd.
“Deliver us from Evil” should not be marketed or viewed as a horror film; it definitely fits the detective/thriller genre more. While some super hardcore horror fans might be disappointed for its lack of originality and minimal scares, it is an enjoyable film for those that love supernatural thrillers. I am going to go against the grain and rate it 6 stars.
“Deliver us from Evil” is out in cinemas now.