As a general rule my interest in horror films tends to be low but a decent trailer is enough to convince me to see a horror movie in the cinema. The previews for Deliver Us From Evil easily fell into that category. My expectations were low but I was hoping that Eric Bana would be able to raise the film over and above the generic fare we are used to seeing.
PLOT: After investigating several domestic disputes Detective Sarchi (Eric Bana) realises they are all connected to three soldiers who have recently returned from Iraq. As he gets deeper into his investigation he discovers that he is dealing with a demon that he must stop before his family are put in mortal danger. Amen. END PLOT
According to the opening credits Deliver Us From Evil is based on true events. I don’t partake in research before writing my reviews so I don’t know or care about whether or not this statement is true.
Deliver Us From Evil plays out like a crime thriller with a generous helping of jump scares thrown in. This worked surprisingly well as it was dark, creepy and had some legitimately tense moments. Sarchi’s investigation eventually leads to an exorcism where standard tropes do start to feel overly familiar but up until that point the film had me feeling genuinely unsettled.
Eric Bana’s career has been a mixed bag but here he doesn’t do himself any harm. Bana’s performance is grounded and despite a very forced New York accent he is a solid leading man. He is ably helped by Édgar Ramirez who plays Mendoza, a ridiculously cool priest with expert knowledge in demons. The two actors have good chemistry and given that the film ends with them off exercising possessed criminals there is potential for a pretty decent television series.
Crime fighting by day. Exorcising demons at night. I'd watch it.
Despite the dark tone there are a few good chuckles to be had thanks to Bana’s sarcastic partner Butler (Joel McHale). It is a testament to McHale that the humour didn’t feel forced or out of place. McHale was great fun and deserved much more screen time than what he got.
The action scenes and effects were decent but it isn’t clear what the $30million budget (IMDB) was spent on. The jump scares were effective and were not as cheap or lazy as they had the potential to be. It is unfortunate that I have seen so many exorcisms I am now desensitised to them but I will concede that the stuffed owl was terrifying.
Deliver Us From Evil was a pleasant surprise. It didn’t offer anything new to the genre but it took familiar themes and executed them very well. It’s the type of horror I like – plenty of tension and jump scares and very little blood. It will be an addition to my DVD collection. It gets 8/10. It’s worth a look if it comes your way.
Now that my review is complete I am off to research Joel McHale.