Deliver Us From Evil Review
It could have been The Exorcist meets End of Days
Blending cop thriller with demonic possession horror, Deliver Us From Evil has some nice ideas going for it, but ultimately feels a little hampered by a desire to be realistic.Indeed, it’s not a wholly original concept, and might make some think back to the days of Arnie trying to give us a more grizzled anti-hero offering in his atypical supernatural thriller End of Days, but this is a far cry from that film in terms of delivery, eschewing over-the-top action and antics in favour of a more downbeat vision of dirty streets and genuine evil wandering them.
The story is purportedly based on a real-life detective who encountered such demonic possession whilst investigating some strange crimes, but the actual specifics of the narrative are utterly fictional, so you wonder why the filmmakers try so hard to hold on to plausibility. Basically Detective Sarchie stumbles upon a trio of possessed Iraq veterans and is forced to reluctantly put aside his understandable cynicism and team up with a rather unorthodox priest to combat this new evil.Aside from a couple of particularly tense encounters, and one solid but under-explored hand-to-hand combat sequence, the majority of Deliver Us From Evil feels strikingly familiar, and it’s actually the early scenes of normal cop investigations that draw us in more than the Exorcism-flavoured antics towards the end.
Eric Bana may feel like he’s slumming it, but he certainly invests himself in the role of the lead cop, and he has decent chemistry with Edgar Ramirez’s priest, but they don’t ever quite convince in what they’re expected to make us believe. They have some nice moments together – like the entire flashback confession, which is really rather brutal – but they are inherently limited by the material, which trades in the supernatural in such a desperate-to-be-real fashion that it almost risks alienating anybody not prepared to accept that this is real.
Funnily enough, there are plenty of entertaining flicks with the same themes, which are played straight but don’t take themselves quite so seriously.
It neither has the cinematic presence of The Exorcist nor the sheer silly enjoyment factor of something like End of Days.
Playing it documentary-style feels an awful lot like playing it safe, with this supposedly based-on-a-real-person tale limited by its own self-imposed restrictions.
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