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Deliver Us from Evil and the Inevitable Exorcism

November 4, 2014

Deliver us from evil movie poster

Eric Bana is a fantastic actor who deserves better material than Deliver Us From Evil. The idea of a real life NYPD Sergeant tracking down evil with a priest is fantastic on paper. However, instead of giving the film a unique character the director has given us more of the same. We get cats hissing, false scares and obligatory cannibalism. Bana has been in some fantastic films (Munich, Lone Survivor, Black Hawk Down, Hanna, Chopper) and it is a shame that Wesley Morris of Grantland could sum up his role like this:

As Ralph Sarchie, he’s the very fit cop who pokes around crime scenes unaware that his penchant for hearing and seeing what others cannot are a calling against Satan

Eventually, Bana’s character Sarchie meets up with a very fit priest named Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez) and they get entangled with a jerky demon. Along the way Olivia Munn is given nothing to do, Joel McHale knife fights and people die violently. It is paint by the numbers exorcism that is more focused on making its stars look cool.

Deliver us from evil

Director Scott Derrikson knows how to create creepiness and his prior efforts landed him a great gig directing Marvel’s Dr. Strange.  However, the script he co-wrote hinders him on every level.  The creepiness gets weighed down by a slog through exposition town. The dialogue hurts more than the cannibalism and you cringe as great actors do their best to deliver stock phrases. For instance, read this gem of an exchange:

Mendoza: [notices waitress]

Sarchie: So you’re not all pedophiles, huh?

Mendoza: Any other stereotypes you want to hit while I’m here?

Sarchie: I’ve met a lot of priests. You don’t seem the type.

Mendoza: And I’ve known a lot of cops, and you’re exactly the type.

When our eardrums are not getting bombarded by bad dialogue we get the occasional cool moment. There is a solid moment at a zoo that creates a neat opening tone but is quickly foiled by a shlock scare via bear growl. The plot devolves into a series of coincidences that take out all urgency and test the audiences patience. For instance, there is a scene where Bana is driving around the city and the exact body he needs to find lands perfectly on his windshield. This means that a demon possessed man stood on a roof looking at his watch in order to throw a dead woman on top of a Sergeant’s moving police vehicle. What if he was driving another car? What if he took a cab? What if a poor soul came across the pesky demon man?

When watching horror films you don’t want to be asking questions. I found myself asking lots of questions and in my search for answers the scares were lost on me. Why The Doors? Why no urgency?  Why did Edgar Ramirez always look so stylish?

Deliver us from Evil Edgar Ramirez

Deliver Us from Evil had the chance to be effective. However, the suspense was squandered with sub-par material. It should have fleshed out the characters instead of spending so much time coming up with cool looking flesh scars.

Deliver Us from Evil scars

Don’t watch Deliver Us from Evil. Watch Bana’s other films or search out better horror fare.

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