In recent years, director Scott Derrickson has worked on the likes of “Sinister” and “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” – two horror films that have received high praise from viewers and critics alike. Nevertheless, can his latest outing deliver?
“Deliver Us From Evil” follows the events of New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) as he begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He teams up with Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez), an unconventional priest who is schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorising the city.
Deliver Us From Evil contains all the standard elements of your typical horror film: suspense, horror and gore. There are moments which will make cinemagoers jump (mostly through the use of brilliant timing and loud, sharp sound effects) and there are also moments which will make them squirm (such as characters biting into flesh).
The cinematography plays an important part of the horror, with great use of lighting (or lack of, in most cases) and the clever use of camera angles add to the suspense. It’s a similar case with the make-up as the demonised psychopaths, Jane (Olivia Horton) and Santino (Sean Harris), look the part throughout.
However, unlike other movies in the genre, Deliver Us From Evil manages to incorporate a highly-engaging plot for the vast majority of the film. The extremely strong character development, especially surrounding Ralph Sarchie and his religious beliefs, truly immerses the viewer. This is greatly assisted by some impressive acting performances, especially from the film’s main characters.
The story’s only real downfall is the inevitable exorcism scene which, despite being well executed, drags on for far too long. Not to mention the borderline cheesy use of The Doors being a musical portal to “the other side”.
Nonetheless, despite all the film’s good points, you can’t help but feel that Scott Derrickson has played it quite safe. There’s nothing in the film that feels unique, with a lot of the themes and ideas already existing across the genre.