Deliver us from Evil is brought to you by Sinister director Scott Derrickson and sadly it’s a pretty bad film.
It’s perfectly acceptable and even encouraged in horror to claim a story is based on a true story but while Ralph Sarchie is a real person the story in the film is entirely fictional. But you’d guessed that already right? It’s a tired cliché and in this instance a flat out lie.
The film tells the story of cop Ralph Sarchie played by Eric Bana and his first experience with a paranormal entity. Bana does well in the role but I found his character pretty unlikeable which as a byproduct meant I didn’t care what happened to him. The film takes the form of a police procedural and David Fincher is clearly an influence but it lacks the depth and finesee of Fincher. It’s even filmed in Fincher’s trademark colour palette and smacks of Se7en at certain points in the film.
Ralph Sarchie’s partner Butler is played by Joel McHale, who is the most ridiculous cop character I’ve seen in a long time.
He looks like a runner up in a Fred Durst look-a-like competition and is the only cop I’ve ever seen wearing an Alice in Chains t-shirt to work and carrying hunting knives as part of his personal weapons arsenal.
They investigate a series of crimes which are tied together via a series of links to a small group of marines who fought in Iraq and a demon on the loose.
We see Sarchie’s family struggle to cope with a father who’s more married to the job than to his wife, and starting here there are more than a few instances of dismissal when it comes to women throughout the film.
He sadly does the predictable though and has to convince Sarchie to reclaim his faith before he can battle the demons he’s about to encounter. Yawn.
Which brings me to Sean Harris, who I was really looking forward to seeing in this film but he may as well have not been in it. For the majority of the film he just stands and stares at people, which is fine, as he does creepy and intense very well but when he does finally get to do some acting it’s so over the top and seems to have no real connection to the supposed horror we’ve spent the last hour and half watching. Which reminds me, this film is a lot longer than it should be.
It’s also irritatingly dark, there are times where you can barely make out what’s happening, which isn’t scary at all, it’s irritating. There are a few music jumps but no real scares although there are some good gory moments and the woman we meet at the beginning of the film who has thrown her child into a lion pit does a great job of playing a woman possibly possessed or possibly suffering with severe mental illness.
I didn’t like the films attitude towards mental illness, there were too many dismissive comments it was unnecessary and made me dislike the main character even more.
Not long after Sarchie comes into contact with Sean Harri’s character he is plagued with fleeting horror visions..of things that have no relation to the story, the use of The Doors was irritating (even as a big Doors fan) the film beats you over the head with silly references that mean very little. If the incident with the marines took place in 2010, why has it taken 3 years for the demon to start creating havoc?
There are a lot of plot holes and its not like they didnt have enough time to fill these holes, too much time was devoted to irrelevant detail in the film.
All in all a very disappointing film with very little to offer either fans of thrillers or horror.
A SHARED FACT: Mark Wahlberg was offered the lead role but he declined. Eric Bana was later cast.