Deliver Us from Evil (2014)
Directed by Scott Derrickson
You know, I don’t care that everyone jumped on this movie to give it bad reviews. I liked the movie. I’ve read all kinds of things about this film like, it’s cliché – what did they expect, a demon possession movie that didn’t have an exorcism in it? Or that the acting was bad – Did they want Eric Bana, who plays a NYC Detective to get all excited and jump around when he found a dead body? And, I said the same thing about young people not liking The Exorcist; you have to believe in something (other than your own greatness), in order for this film to be effective. If you have no religious beliefs at all, then the film is a mute point. Most of all, I think the problem all the young ‘uns are having with the film is it’s not full of dazzling CGI effects and explosive action. (sorry kids, no explosions in this film).
Eric Banner plays, Detective Ralph Sarchie, a NY special unit detective drawn into an occult investigation. A series of inexplicable murders- beginning with the murder of two babies- begins a trail of death throughout the Bronx. He is approached by a Jesuit Priest concerning the incidents, but he dismisses the holy man. Being a cop, he deals in fact, not superstition. It isn’t long before he discovers he needs the man’s help as strange events escalate. The investigation unfolds in increments as seemingly separate cases mesh into one big picture that the detective cannot deny. I was hooked on the cop story because Ralph Sarchie is a well developed character with a back-story to unravel and faults as great as his strengths. In this way it holds a kinship to films like Se7en and Silence of the Lambs.
There is a full-blown exorcism ritual in the film portrayed in a more gratifying manner than all the recent exorcism films such as, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Possession, and The Unborn. But most of all, I would compare this film to The Exorcist III, where an investigation into evil leads to more than the detective bargained for, and puts his own life and his loved ones in danger. I wouldn’t say the dialog is as good as E3 but there are many similarities. There’s some damn creepy atmosphere in the film, especially in scenes at The Bronx Zoo, and at the suspect’s apartment building. (end of spoilers)
The film is not wholly scary (what film is these days), but the detective angle makes for an intriguing story-line and fluid pace. There’s no (noticeable) CGI in the film and not much special effects. The dark, dank streets of a rainy Bronx neighborhood are creepy enough to carry the film. It keeps one foot firmly planted in reality because of this.
While the film offers nothing groundbreaking to its own genre (I‘ll admit); much like The Conjuring, it assembles the familiar in a way that is entertaining. When you’ve been watching horror movies for as long as I have, you have pretty much seen it all. It’s rare that you see something totally original. Eventually what you look for is the presentation–good characterization, good writing and good acting. To me, this film had all three. I would put it near the top of exorcism films, very close to, but under, The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
A supernatural horror and cop-show mash-up worth viewing for those who like both genres.
I give it a 4.0 possessed punks on the scale of creepy cop capers!
The ‘This film is based on a true story’ moniker is a half truth. The film is based on a true person, Ralph Sarchie, a veteran cop on the NYPD that left his job fighting evil people, to fight evil itself.
The 2001 book entitled ‘Beware the Night’ by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool, covers several (unconnected) events that Sarchie has dealt with, plus his own reconciliation with God. There’s a great excerpt from the book on the Amazon page and many reviews state that the book is terrifying.
You can check it out here: