Movie Review: Deliver Us From Evil
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writers: Scott Derrickson (screenplay), Paul Harris Boardman (screenplay)
Stars: Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn
Synopsis: NY police officer Ralph Sarchie investigates a series of crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest, schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the possessions that are terrorizing their city.
Scott Derrickson’s Deliver Us From Evil comes across and is masked as a paranormal horror film, but really it’s more of a crime drama about a man who has his own demons, if you will, that he must learn to overcome. The film is well-paced and offers some interesting questions that parallel the superficial horror. Many critics have bashed the film for it’s stereotypical tropes and lack of originality, which is valid, but I’m not so sure that’s what the films was all about. Sure, Derrickson throws a lot of typical jump scares at you, but the inner struggle of the film I found compelling. The overall aesthetic is creepy and fits the vibe he was going for and the final sequences were pretty thrilling, despite it being nothing new.
The story is “based of true life events” and centers around New York Police detective Sarchie and his partner Butler. When they investigate a domestic disturbance, they find out they’re in for more than just an abusive husband. Through several circumstances that arise, the story works as a crime thriller and the pieces of the puzzle start to fall in line as they continue their investigation. At the same time, Sarchie, is experiencing symptoms that on the surface seems supernatural, but rather his pain is much deeper and needs a, well let’s just say a different kind of healing. Eventually Sarchie and Butler find out that the three men they were after suffer from being “demon-possessed” and need the help of Mendoza, an undercover priest who specializes in supernatural occurrences. As mentioned, there are many tropes that we’ve seen a hundred times over and the film is pretty predictable. However, there are two types of exorcisms that are featured here and one is certainly more relatable than the other.
Eric Bana is pretty great in the role, selling both the crime aspects as well as the spiritual ones. His character is a man who is struggling in more ways than one and Bana showcases that well. Joel McHale is also great and delivers some nice comedic timing, in a movie that doesn’t have much humor. Édgar Ramírez, as an undercover priest, delivers a solid performance as well and delivers some dialogue that is sure worth thinking about. Olivia Munn isn’t in the film a ton, but when she’s there, she’s actually pretty good. Really, none of the supporting actors are terrible, and while some of it is stereotypical, it’s never distracting.
Christopher Young’s score is probably the most mundane part about the film. Like the script, it’s not that it’s terrible, but rather something we’ve heard before. It certainly adds to the horror moments but in the end, it’s forgettable.
Look I get it, I understand why a lot of people don’t like this movie. It certainly is unoriginal and doesn’t add anything new to the genre on a horror production standpoint, but I found the inner struggle parallels compelling and the crime drama story was still interesting. Given that, it wasn’t a bad watch and something you can still engage with.