The Devil Inside
Drama (Thriller, Horror)
Running Time: 83 minutes
Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth, Ionut Grama, Suzan Crowley
Directed By: William Brent Bell
Rating: 5 out of 10
A woman becomes involved with some illegal exorcisms in the pursuit of finding out what happened to her mom many years prior.
Admittedly there is something about exorcism movies that freak me the F out. I am not sure if it is the creepiness of the unknown or the grotesquely contorted bodies, but the material just sticks with me long after the film is done. The Devil Inside is the story of Isabella Rossi. She is documenting the story of her mother, who allegedly killed three members of the church during an exorcism. During this mission to find out the truth about her mom, Isabella becomes involved in a series of unauthorized exorcisms.
I normally don’t listen to any hype surrounding a movie before I watch it. This is so I can give an unbiased opinion in my reviews. Unfortunately this film upset so many people, that it was impossible not to read some internet negativity surrounding it before my review. I heard the concerns and was expecting the worst but truth be told this wasn’t that bad. This film is shot primarily in the handheld camera style that is all the rage these days for horror. While filming in this style certainly adds some realism to the story, it also brings out a lot of the flaws in the acting with it’s up close and in your face shots. The Devil Inside plays itself off like a documentary. It has a background story of a horrific murder and details of the Vatican separating itself from exorcisms. After a quick introduction to the aftermath of Isabella’s mother’s crime scene, the movie gets underway. Ultimately with every exorcism movie the story is pretty superfluous as the viewers are here for the chilling acts of expelling the demon. This film unfortunately suffers from a lot of unnecessary build up as we get to understand what exorcisms are and where the church stands on them. So if you are looking for a fast paced and edgy movie this won’t be the film for you. But if you enjoy possession type films I felt this movie delivers on the important aspects. An interview with Isabella’s mom at an insane asylum really captures the essence of a severe mental health disorder or a terrifying possession. While there are not enough scenes like this for my taste, when they do occur they did give me the creeps.
The acting fluctuates so badly in terms of quality that it does detract from the film a bit. This is right across the board with every performance. At times you think you are watching a documentary as the actors seem to forget the camera and just discuss theology. Most times though, and especially when the characters are stressed, you can’t help but notice the forced performances. Every character suffered from the ups and downs and that really hurt this movies chance of succeeding.
So what did I like about this movie and why did I find it more entertaining than other people? It boiled down to the exorcisms themselves. While not treading on any new ground I still felt that they were tense and well thought up. Sure, it is basically the same young girl in the white nightgown scenario that all films prior and most after will use, but it still works. The contorted limbs, the foreign tongues, and the self mutilation all make this film scary on some level. I also liked that they waste little film as the run time is short (83 minutes). This film wasn’t trying to be anything other than a creep fest and I appreciated that fact. When the exorcisms are completed and the end seems to be ramped up for a blood bath it inexplicably falls flat. Its abruptness will satisfy few (me included). But to judge a movie strictly on its terrible ending is rather short sighted which everyone seems to harp on in regards to this film (get over it people). So in conclusion the exorcisms were solid. The acting, construction of story, and ending were not.
Director William Brent Bell (Stay Alive) doesn’t seem to know how to put a horror together properly. This film suffers from not enough frights other than the exorcisms. It is as if he forgets that a film needs a climax to satisfy the casual movie watcher. The casting seems weak as the performances were all over the place. The film rated higher on my scale as I enjoyed the exorcism scenes but this doesn’t disguise the fact that this film was haphazardly spliced together with a terrible ending. Truly this film seemed amateurish in its finished product even though I found it entertaining.
I cannot recommend this film but if you like exorcism films and aren’t a snob of the genre than it could be worth your time.
T Factor + If you like the handheld camera shot horror then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you are an exorcist purist then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Unborn.