New York cops Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) and Butler (Joel McHale) investigate a chain of gruesome incidents that are linked to demonic possession. Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez) helps Ralph find his spiritual centre to prevail against the darkness.
When you see the trailers for Deliver Us From Evil you may assume that you are in for two satisfying hours of thrills and scares. Wrong. Despite the marketing, however, the film cannot decide if it is Paranormal Activity, Se7en or The Exorcist.
The opening scene can be likened to The Keep where a group of solders disturb something monstrous. The year is 2010 and a squad of United States Marine Corps are fighting insurgents in Iraq. Our American warriors discover a cave and you can guess what happens when their point-of-view defers to their headcams.
The story jumps ahead three years and so begins a series of erratic tonal shifts, bizarre happenings that do not necessarily move the story forward, convenient situations and a really boring subplot featuring Ralph's wife and daughter.
Early on we follow Ralph and Butler as they check in on a migrant family's supposedly haunted home. And then there are the shenanigans, after hours, at the local zoo. These scenes were unfortunately the highlights of the movie because they were tense and the villain of the piece was mysterious and creepy.
As soon as we learn more about the bad guy he loses his mojo and the story suffers—much like the poor audience that had to sit through this narrative.
The shock moments never really pushed things far enough. The wife and daughter scenario in itself is an overused horror trope but surprisingly the story was never too tense when their lives were threatened. The care factor was indeed zero.
A fun drinking game for Deliver Us From Evil would be to count the plot holes. On more than one occasion the main characters think it is a great idea to split up from the group. Also, when Ralph and Butler pursue dangerous leads they never call for backup. One crazy chick manages to escape a psychiatric ward while also evading security. And then our padre Mendoza always finds himself where he is needed. The naughty list is long.
Stay tuned for overt religious messages and symbolism interspersed with drama that culminates in an anti-climactic exorcism.
Eric Bana's first horror flick, Deliver Us From Evil, fails to deliver us from disappointment. I prefer Eric Bana as that Special Forces guy in Black Hawk Down. If you want to see a decent horror-thriller look up 13 Sins.