Deliver Us from Evil
Filmmaker Scott Derrickson is no stranger to the horror genre with previous titles like Hellraiser: Inferno, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister. With the latter two films he explores the contemporary horror formula in regard to narration. In Deliver Us from Evil Derrickson and reoccurring co-writer Paul Harris Boardman attempt to fuse the cop and supernatural horror genres together.
The story is based on the non-fiction novel Beware the Night by retired NYPD officer Ralph Sarchie. Sarchie (Eric Bana) and his partner Butler (Joel McHale) are called out to a zoo where a mother has recently thrown her infant child into the lion’s den. As the two cops investigate further they encounter a series of unexplained supernatural phenomena. Priest Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez) assists their investigation and explains to them that these occurrences may be demonic.
The atheist cop Sarchie coming into conflict with the ex-addict Priest Mendoza against the backdrop of this extraordinary case could have produced interesting philosophical discussions on faith. What unfortunately happens instead is the movie bypasses much of that discussion and assumes the audience will accept the reality of demonic possession, which isn’t too surprising considering Derrickson’s prior work. This then consequently makes the questioning of faith a predictable arc, and if the audience attempts to engage themselves into this plotline they will have to then brace themselves against the barrage of jump scares.
These jump scares become equally predictable most notably in the sound department; the ambient noise becomes quiet and forces the audience to prepare themselves for another wall of loud noise with a high possibility of a fake-out.
If one is able to bypass these major cruxes of the film one will then either become confused by Bana’s accent – it veers off and leaves the audience wondering why they didn’t get a New York actor – or agitated by the shoehorned family conflict with his wife Jen (Olivia Munn) and daughter Christina (Lulu Wilson).
Deliver Us from Evil attempts to merge the cop genre with the supernatural but it consequently becomes a predictable horror that everyone has come to expect. The avalanche of loud noises and jump scares makes it impossible to engage with the material. In short this is a major missed opportunity.
Deliver Us from Evil is released nationwide on 22nd August 2014.
Watch the trailer for Deliver Us from Evil here: