Before the action begins, the horror film “Deliver Us From Evil” tells us that it is “inspired by actual accounts”; by the time it’s over, we’re wondering which moments were rooted in reality. The people wandering the New York boroughs who appear to have had their hair and makeup done by a graduate of the Zombie Beauty Academy? The perfectly convenient instant at which a corpse’s stomach explodes (a scene guaranteed to put you off your lunch and quite possibly the next day’s meals)? The mental institution that appears to have only one employee? The mysterious way in which it appears to be daytime in one part of the city and nighttime in another at the same time?
In other words, this is a pretty routine and occasionally silly demonic-possession flick, which distinguishes itself by making us wait so long for the exorcism that heads may be spinning in the audience as well. Eric Bana, giving it his all, plays Sgt. Ralph Sarchie, an NYPD veteran who’s deeply troubled by the horrors he’s seen in his South Bronx precinct, and Edgar Ramirez is Father Joe Mendoza, a renegade priest who’s convinced that some of these hideous crimes are the result of demons among us. After an eternity, these two handsome crimefighters finally team up — they’re like really moody superheroes — to catch the bad guys.
Director Scott Derrickson (“Sinister”) tarts things up with jittery editing, an excess of bodily fluids (some in very strange colors; were these people drinking antifreeze?), and the creepiest rendition you’ll ever hear of “Pop Goes the Weasel.” Some of it’s shivery, but a lot of it is familiar from similar movies. Deliver me from this “Evil,” please.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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