Deliver Us from Evil is a 2014 American biopic-crime-horror film thriller directed by Scott Derrickson. It is based on a 2001 book entitled “Beware the Night” by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool. It stars Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Sean Harris, Olivia Munn, and Joel McHale.
ScareTissue contributors Trapjaw & Chewie got to see an advance screening of the film in May. This review was written after that evening and has been held until day of release.
Deliver Us From Evil is an intense film that is reminiscent of Exorcist III. It’s a supernatural thriller that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. While the Doors only soundtrack works for the most part, it doesn’t always come across as natural. The cast (especially Bana and Ramirez) do a great job with their roles. McHale is forced but necessary on occasion, and Munn is great but cliched.
I loved the story, and this is one of the best supernatural thrillers since the Fallen. In Fallen, an ancient demon terrorizes a cop in Philadelphia by possessing people through touch. Deliver Us From Evil uses the same concept, but twists it into more of a gateway (or door) concept. While the story is awesome, that feeling that all were in danger of being possessed just didn’t exist here. However, the demon in DUFE does have supernatural strength and abilities while possessing its victims, and it uses these often (to the delight and fright of the audience).
The film uses an array of scares to reel the audience in. As our hero is a tough NYC cop, he often wanders into dark corridors and scary situations. We have quite a few jump scares, but these aren’t generic “hey…thought you wanted a coffee” jump scares. There is legitimate danger involved. As a parent, this film is just brutal. Nobody is safe here, and that is established early. The first scene of the film involves a dead baby. There are multiple mutilations and compelling side stories. The film is very heavy on its religious symbolism and themes, and redemption is a huge theme of the film. The priest (played by Ramirez) has a wonderful line about it.
Deliver Us From Evil features an all Doors soundtrack. The Jim Morrison band’s songs can be heard in the background, in the foreground, and haunt a couple characters’ heads. Now, it’s not like the film just turned on one of the classic albums while shooting the film. The songs are heard in different arrangements. While ever present, they are sometimes unnoticed. It was a very effective and fun twist, but it is carried through the finale. While I understand the thought process, it doesn’t translate as well as a primordial demon scream would have in places.
As I’ve said, the film is very intense. Bana does a great job as our tortured hero, and Ramirez shines as the non-traditional priest. McHale’s character is much needed comic relief in the film (even if he comes off as forced on occasion), and Munn’s transition from loving wife to lonely housewife is way too fast for a film that takes place over a 3 day period. I loved her scenes (and the daughter is a great child actor that shows quite a bit of range), but she just changed course a little too quickly.
I’ll agree with everything that Trapjaw said. Absolutely loved this flick. It’s been driving me crazy that we’ve had to wait so long to post this review cause I just want to talk about it with other folks.
Trap’s right… as a parent this is a tough one to watch. At the time we screened this, I had a 3 week old at home. The opening scene with dead baby was cringe worthy for me, not to mention the moment when we see a (possessed) mother throw her 2 year old over the railing at the zoo into the lion pit.
Bana does a great job here as does Ramirez. Munn is smoking hot as usual and actually showed some acting chops which I appreciated. However, the performances that really stood out for me are the possessed folks. They all do AMAZING work here.
I said it when I walked out of the theater, and I’ll repeat it again here:
“Deliver Us From Evil has the single best exorcism scene I’ve ever seen.”
Period… end of story.
I’m not sure if we saw the final cut of the film as it didn’t have an MPAA rating announced when we saw it. It’s absolutely GOT to be R rated as giving this a PG-13 rating would require cutting the balls out. If it does get PG-13, my very strong recommend would vanish and and I’d tell you not to bother. As it stands with what I’m guessing will be a R rating you need to see this. It may not do The Conjuring numbers at the box office, but it’s just as good. Please go see this flick. You’ll be glad you did. Strong recommend.
You can learn more about Deliver Us From Evil at the following links. Tell em ScareTissue sent you!