Thursday, October 6, 2016

Film Review: The Devil Inside (2012)

The Devil Inside (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Prime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
 *A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review

"I appreciate it a bit more than my original viewing back in 2012, but it is still a very flawed movie."

Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) attempts to find out what truly happened to her mother, who killed three people during an exorcism in 1989...

The Devil Inside is a found footage/mockumentary horror film. The story follows Isabella and Michael, the cameraman, as they travel to Rome, where Isabella's mother has been locked up in a psychiatric hospital since the murders. Isabella visits a school to gain some perspective on exorcisms. At said school, she meets a two priests who happen to conduct exorcisms in their free time against the church's will – smart, right? Anyway, Isabella experiences an exorcism and continues to try to save her mother. That's about it. The plot is very simple, but it isn't horrible. There are some genuinely interesting tidbits here. Now, the ending is bad. It's unnecessarily abrupt and shamelessly unfulfilling. (It's even worse now considering the website doesn't function anymore!)

I watched The Devil Inside back in 2012 when it first came out. I remember disliking it immensely. It's not as bad as I remembered it, though – or perhaps I'm a bit more forgiving now. It's not an incredible film, I won't go that far, but it's not bad. Like I said, there are some very interesting scenes regarding exorcism here. It made me want to watch a real exorcism documentary, really. There are also a few creepy scenes throughout the film. Unfortunately, that's about it. In terms of horror, it's too reliant on jump-scares, which usually consists of screeching. There is very little suspense here. In terms of plot, although it is occasionally interesting, the story fails to leave an impression. The characters are hollow and the film – surprisingly – refuses to capitalize on its themes. The final act resorts to the same ol' found footage garbage: characters are visibly annoyed, characters shout at each other, lights go out, more shouting, some shaky cam, the end.

The acting wasn't bad, though. Fernanda Andrade is a decent leading lady. Suzan Crowley, who plays Isabella's mother, delivers a very dedicated performance. I didn't have any complaints for the cast. This is a found footage movie. Fortunately, it isn't very nauseating like a few others. There's some shaky cam towards the end, but this is more than tolerable. The film was written by William Brent Bell and Matthew Peterman; Bell also directs. The writing is inconsistent. It fails to create interesting characters or an even slightly original plot. The ending was also absurd. At times, the direction also felt uninspired – or perhaps 'too safe,' for want of a better word. It doesn't conjure much suspense and it often meanders into pure boredom due to its refusal to take chances. It's fun to watch one of Bell's earlier efforts, though. He improved with Wer and The Boy, at least.

Overall, The Devil Inside is a mediocre horror film. I appreciate it a bit more than my original viewing back in 2012, but it is still a very flawed movie. It has some creepy and interesting scenes, but it isn't very scary and the story isn't exactly compelling. The reliance on boring jump-scares and the lack of suspense are the most disappointing aspects of the film, though. Oh, and that ending – what were they thinking?!

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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