Review: DELIVER US FROM EVIL (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 2 July 2014


Despite the potentially interesting hybrid of police procedural and supernatural thriller genres, DELIVER US FROM EVIL fails to deliver on almost all counts.

In 2005, writer-director Scott Derrickson did an impressive job mixing supernatural thriller and courtroom drama in THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE. Then in 2012, he made an intriguing, albeit less successful combo of classic haunted-house genre and found-footage horror element in SINISTER. This year, he attempts for another hybrid and this time it's police procedural blended with supernatural thriller. On paper, it does sounds interesting enough but unfortunately, the execution is a huge disappointment.

Based on a 2001 book entitled Beware the Night by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool, DELIVER US FROM EVIL begins in 2010 where three US Marines suffered from strange occurrence while creeping down an underground cave somewhere in the Iraqi desert. Flash forward a few years later in the city of Bronx, New York, the movie focuses on NYPD Sergeant Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) and his partner Butler (Joel McHale), who both investigating a series of strange cases that occurred throughout the night. Among them is a crazy woman (Olivia Horton) who ended up throwing her baby into a lion's den at the zoo. As Sarchie investigates further, he begins to realize that he's not dealing with typical crime-related cases but something more paranormal altogether.
For a movie that deals with supernatural elements, I'm quite surprised that Scott Derrickson manages to make good use from some of the Doors' songs (such as the classic Break On Through (To the Other Side)) to create spine-tingling moments. In the meantime, some of the grisly effects on the blood and gore are quite effective.

Eric Bana is intense as the tormented Ralph Sarchie, while Joel McHale is decent enough as Sarchie's wisecracking partner who provides most of the movie's comic relief. Lastly, there's Edgar Ramirez, who delivers a worthwhile performance as drug addict-turned-priest Mendoza.

The exorcism scene that occurred in the interrogation room during the climactic finale is supposed to be the highlight of the movie. But instead of a potentially hair-raising cinematic experience, it feels more like an empty special-effect showcase of sound and fury.

At nearly two hours long, the movie suffers from sluggish pace with too many expository scenes all over the place. Most of Scott Derrickson's direction is awfully generic because the way he relies too heavily on repetitive jump scares to deliver the scary moments. Even the SE7EN-like moody and often rain-soaked atmosphere that he and cinematographer Scott Kevan tries to create a certain sense of dread and despair, doesn't feels as visually engaging as it should be.

As Sarchie's estranged wife, Jen, Olivia Munn is sadly reduced into a thankless role who does nothing more other than nagging at her husband and looking worried most of the time. Sean Harris delivers a mediocre performance who hardly comes across as disturbing or frightening in his role as the movie's main villain, Santino.


Overall, DELIVER US FROM EVIL is a huge, missed opportunity that could have been a good spookfest amidst all the crowded summer-movie season filled with effects-laden blockbusters, sequels and comic-book movies.

* This review is written courtesy from Sony Pictures Malaysia press screening *


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