Director: Scott Derrickson
Cast: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn and Joel McHale
Running Time: 118 minutes
Release Date: August 22nd
Listen very carefully as this film ends, for if you really pay attention you’ll be able to make out the distinct sound of Eric Bana having his swimming pool cleaned. Based on the novel Beware the Night; the latest in a long line of identical exorcism films coming from the U.S. is Deliver Us From Evil. Loosely based on real life events the film centres on New York cop Sarchie (Bana) teaming up with local Priest Father Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez) and their attempts to the fight the evil brewing in some veterans who were possessed in a cave whilst on duty in Iraq.
I can’t be sure exactly when it started, but certainly ever since 1999’s Stigmata there has been at least one film a year trotted out by Hollywood catering to some seemingly inexhaustible demand for films with some connection to possession and featuring a questionable grasp of theology. All these films have been designed and marketed in a such a manner as to make one believe they were part of some very long running franchise. Deliver Us From Evil is 2014’s first offering here but sadly one feels it isn’t the last.
The film is ultimately an incredibly frustrating experience, it isn’t awful but it is so married to the idea of hitting its genre cues that no scare hits, no plot twist or revelation isn’t seen coming a long way off. This goes for the performances as well, Bana is running through the motions with such disinterest that at one point you can see him yawn and look down at this smartphone. Ramirez has by this point fallen into that unfortunate trap, that of the Hispanic journeyman actor; not that he is to blame for that he is more than capable when given a chance. They aren’t the only ones to blame here though, ultimately it feels like everyone involved has just shown up for the paycheque, even Community’s Joel McHale pops up – this is hardly the place to try and make a name for yourself as a serious actor.
Hidden somewhere in the plot are some small attempts at creating or adding something new and interesting to the dynamic. There’s the idea of terror coming back from the front line to haunt the home front and there’s a vague effort made to turn it into a supernatural cop thriller as opposed to a supernatural thriller with a hint of CSI. Despite this though, the most damning thing about this flick, is that it is the exact film you pictured in your head the second you saw the poster.