Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Film Review: Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

Deliver Us From Evil (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Xbox Video (Rental)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...the horror was effective and the story was engaging."

New York cop Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) finds himself entangled in a case of possession.

Deliver Us From Evil follows police sergeant Sarchie. Sarchie and his partner, Butler (Joel McHale), find themselves in one bizarre case after another -- a veteran who brutally beats his wife, a woman who throws her child in a lion's pit. Soon, Sarchie finds the cases are connected by three veterans who fought together in Iraq. Soon after that, Sarchie finds himself discussing the possibility of the case being demonic in nature with a priest or specialist, Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez). There's a bit more to the story, but that's the gist. I only had a small issue with the ending. I know the film is inspired by true events, but the ending felt very out of place and underwhelming.

Aside from the ending, I enjoyed most of Deliver Us From Evil. It's a great blend of horror and crime-thriller. The crime aspect helps amplify the horror, while making the narrative more distinct than the typical possession film. The horror consists of some solid suspense, plenty of jump-scares, and some eerie visuals. The suspense was great, I loved it -- it wasn't nail-biting, but it was at least effective. The visuals were also strong, it often creates a surreal experience. The jump-scares were less effective, though. I think there were two or three great jolters in this, at least. My only other complaint, next to the ending, was the slightly bloated runtime. Otherwise, this was a surprising horror treat.

Eric Bana is great as the lead, he has great charisma and screen presence. Édgar Ramírez was also strong. Some of the supporting cast was weak, but it fortunately mostly focuses on Bana and Ramírez. The film has a very dark and grungy style. I liked it, but I felt it was occasionally too dark. Practically every scene has flickering lights. The music was subtle yet eerie, it helped build the ominous atmosphere of the film, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Director Scott Derrickson, who also directed great films like Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, does a wonderful job in building suspense and dread; he also does a great job in seamlessly blending the crime and horror genres with a gritty style.

Overall, Deliver Us From Evil is a great horror film. The film is a little too long and the ending was disappointing, but the horror was effective and the story was engaging. All-in-all, I was very entertained and satisfied. If you're a fan of atmospheric horror film, suspense or even jump-scares, this is for you.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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