Deliver Us From Evil(2014)
- RatedNC16 /GenreAction, Crime, Horror
Deliver Us from Evil (2014)
Horror movies can go two ways: They can either scare your wits silly or they’re so riddled with cliches and overused tropes that it is laughable.
Scott Derrickson’s crime-horror-biopic ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ falls into the second category, so much so that you may also call it ‘Deliver Us from Cliches’.
What went wrong with this movie from someone who gave us the very creepy ‘Sinister’ (2012) and ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’ (2005)?
BASED ON A TRUE STORY
The movie is based on the real-life exploits of retired New York police detective-turned-paranormal investigator Ralph Sarchie, as well as his 2001 book ‘Beware The Night’.
The highly regarded actor Eric Bana (‘Lone Survivor’), sports a hokey Bronx accent and plays the lawman with a nose for trouble, but who is haunted by the crimes that he has seen and investigated.
A very muscular-looking Joel McHale plays his adrenaline-junkie partner Butler, who spits quips that could come straight from an episode of US TV series ‘Community’.
The pair stumbles on to a case where a deranged mother throws her toddler into the lion’s pit at the Bronx Zoo, and that led to a series of crimes involving Iraq War veterans, a mysterious hooded painter, and Jim Morrison's lyrics (devil’s music!) – all linked to the paranormal.
Helping them sort out the unnatural is “undercover” Jesuit priest Mendoza played by Edgar Ramirez (‘Zero Dark Thirty’).
Basically, ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ is your typical cop thriller with demonic possession and exorcism thrown in. Expect the obligatory possessed toys, the jump scares and Latin incantations and even some buddy-cop humour.
Does it work? No.
Perhaps the most worthy takeaway from the movie is the idea of the evil that exists in people, how soldiers and policemen cannot escape from the mayhem that they witness in their line of work and how what they see haunts them every day.
The first half of the movie, which looked promising, addresses all that, going for the gritty cop thriller feel a la Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Training Day’ or David Ayer’s ‘End of Watch’. Then it slowly descends into mirth once the spooky elements come in.
Derrickson seems to have lost his touch in this one, and the choppy edits and frenzied pacing become mere distractions with no payoff.
The saving grace is, surprisingly, not Bana but the quiet cool of Ramirez’s priest character. The Venezuelan actor adds heft to proceedings and steals every scene he is in.
If ‘Deliver Us from Evil’ has any kind of afterlife, it will be because of him.