Deliver Us From Evil – Review by Frances Winston
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris, Joel McHale
In cinemas August 20th
While the posters for this may give the appearance of a run of mill horror flick this is actually based on the real life experiences of cop turned demonologist Ralph Sarchie who is played here by Eric Bana. While investigating a series of gruesome crimes he is confronted by a Spanish priest Mendoza (Ramírez) who tells him that there is more than just violence at the bottom of the incidents. Convincing Sarchie that there are supernatural forces at work despite the fact that it goes against all Sarchie’s religious beliefs the pair trace back the phenomenon to Iraq. However as Sarchie and Mendoza get closer to uncovering the truth and exorcising the evil his family are put in danger as his young daughter begins to hear strange noises and eventually the pair find themselves in severe jeopardy as he works to rid the world of the ancient force that is determined to maintain possession of its victim.
Although this is based on fact, Derrickson very much goes for old school frights here. There are plenty of heart in your mouth and jump out of your seat moments. Unfortunately they are sometimes at the expense of the narrative. It is like he is trying so hard to give us a fright that he is ignoring the character development. Bana gives a an intense performance as Sarchie and indeed brings a credibility to the role but the script hasn’t really allowed for the fleshing out of the character and therefore it all feels rather one dimensional. Ramírez has great presence as Mendoza but again suffers from a weak script that is more concerned with making us scream than moving us. Of course that’s not necessarily a bad thing and if you like your horror dark, atmospheric and super creepy then you’ll love this. Derrickson has totally layered on the chills using every trick and cliché in the horror director’s manual to ensure that even the most hardened horror buff will get a start.
Ultimately there is nothing here that hasn’t been done before which is a shame as it was a great opportunity to tell a human horror story by focusing on the people rather than the paranormal. However if you ignore the fact that it is based on true events what you are left with is a decent enough horror that will make you jump in your seat but won’t cause you to lose any sleep afterwards.