Genre: Horror / Thriller
Director: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Chris Coy, Dorian Missick
You haven’t seen true evil
Deliver Us from Evil has an interesting background as it is based on a book called Beware The Night by Ralph Sarchie, a retired NYPD police officer who would later become a so-called demonologist. Although films that claim to be based on true stories doesn’t always end up to be very good, there’s no denying that the backstory of this one provides something fresh and interesting.
Eric Bana portrays Ralph Sarchie in the film and the case he works on is his first contact with true evil when he investigates a series of violent and demonic events. Together with his non-believer partner Butler and the young priest Mendoza, Ralph goes up against an evil demon that has traveled all the way from the deep caves of Iraq.
The film plays like a dark thriller, following the cops chasing the evil around the gritty streets of New York. You always feel like the horror elements are present and it does have some horrific scenes in it early on aswell before it turns to become a more typical and generic exorcism movie in the final part, which is also the low point of the film.
I say that because it becomes so very generic and goes for shock instead of staying more clever like the first two-thirds of the film does quite properly. I have to question why they did these scenes in such a way as it felt a bit over the top and just lacked any tension at all, it was simply not a good way to end the film and it just became very anti-climatic.
The film is directed by Scott Derrickson, a young director who has proven himself to be very competent in the horror genre. He did one of the better Hellraiser sequels with Hellraiser: Inferno, he received much attention from his 2005 effort The Exorcism of Emily Rose and had another big hit with Sinister. He always brings something personal to his movies and you can always find some theme of good vs. evil and religion in his films without it becoming too much or even annoying.
You can also find similarities in this film when you take another look at Hellraiser: Inferno and Exorcism of Emily Rose as this has some of the same features, such as a cop on the hunt for something evil that he does not understand at and has to sacrifice his family life in order to find and the fact that this film deals with demonic possession. I would also like to point out that this film does drag a bit at times and the nearly two hour running time could have been reduced a bit.
Derrickson does nail the look of the film, it’s dark, gritty and perfect for the story. The characters are adequate enough. Eric Bana looks the part as the tough NYPD police detective, the same can be said about Edgar Ramirez as the priest Mendoza and Joel McHale as Sarchie’s partner Butler (although they could have cut a few of his jokes out of the film).
Deliver Us from Evil is a solid film. It is absolutely worth watching even if it does have some flaws, especially the final part of the film. I do wish that it would have taken another direction with the story, but Derrickson’s proficient directing does keep it interesting. If you are tired of exorcism movies by now though then you might want to give it some time before pressing play on it.