Deliver Us from Evil is an effective film that keeps one on the edge until the end, even if the finale doesn’t give us anything new in the genre. The cast is well put together and the direction by Scott Derrickson is successful building on his respectable resume following The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister.
Deliver Us From Evil
Genre(s): Horror, Supernatural
Sony | R – 118 min. – $40.99 | October 28, 2014
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Exorcism movies, and generally supernatural horror, is usually not my thing save for The Exorcist, but the latest, Deliver Us From Evil, is a fairly entertaining film albeit it does stroll into generic territory by the finale, though it’s still a fun, and oft frightening, ride.
First, going to get the whole “Inspired by the Actual Accounts of an NYPD Sergeant” out of the way: Just like all the others, I’m pretty damn sure 99.9% of this did not happen, in fact the featurettes (outlined below) say as much including one key plot elements not supernaturally related.
After opening in 2010 Iraq as a group of soldier hunt down terrorists, two come upon a tomb and something terrible, though not seen, happens.
Pick it up three years later where we meet NYPD Sergeant Ralph Sarchie (ERIC BANA), a tough cop working in the worst district in New York. Working alongside his partner Butler (JOEL MCHALE) on patrol, take a call to a domestic disturbance where a husband, Jimmy Tratner, went off on his wife, after a brief chase in the streets, to go along with a major beat down by Sarchie, they haul Jimmy to jail.
Following this, Sarchie and Butler take another call, this time to the zoo where a mother has thrown her 2-year-old son into the lion’s pit and had dashed off and disappeared. Complicating matters, the zoo electricity has gone out leaving only emergency lights to work with. So the two detectives scour the zoo and eventually find the woman, named Jane, as she is clawing on the ground. She’s taken without a struggle but in the process, Sarchie spots a painter and in his pursuit, into the lion’s den, finds the man has vanished and now must escape the claws of the lion.
Back at the station, we meet a priest named Mendoza (EDGAR RAMIREZ) who has been tasked by Jane’s family to take her to see a specialist, i.e. lock her up in a loony bin, and asks Sarchie about the encounter before giving him his card in the event he can be of any assistance in the case… Well, of course he will especially after Sarchie begins seeing, and hearing, things others can’t.
Soon enough, Sarchie begins finding patterns and after another call, where a family is scared witless about supernatural things going on in their home, namely items moving and electricity going out, he finds a body with a connection to the painter he chased down at the zoo as well as one to Jane…
Meanwhile, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sarchie has a home life with wife Jen (OLIVIA MUNN) and daughter Christina (LULU WILSON). It’s a nice, all-American family but as you can imagine, soon enough Sarchie’s work seeps into his home as otherworldly things start going on the deeper he goes into the case.
Deliver Us From Evil actually is not a bad film. It’s a nice balance of the gritty crime-drama and the supernatural, Serpico meets The Exorcist I believe it was described by one of the filmmakers or producers and to that end, it works pretty damn well. One of the things I liked was that they didn’t overuse the old jump scare routine, there were a couple, but otherwise the jumps were warranted and often earned.
The film was co-scripted and directed by Scott Derrickson whose previous endeavor, Sinister was well received as was The Exorcism of Emily Rose which I never got a chance to see yet. Derrickson does well building the tension and setting the dim tone while giving us a main character who isn’t just a super-cop but someone with real emotions and a dark past that he has to confront.
Acting-wise, nobody really stands out, although I did like Joel McHale’s smallish role playing against type, although he does get a couple good wisecracks, and Edgar Ramirez’s character is engaging and plays well opposite Eric Bana who himself makes for a serviceable main character, as been the case for most of his career. Also, Olivia Munn isn’t bad, though she doesn’t get that much to do outside of a nice scene later in the film.
All in all, Deliver Us from Evil is an effective crime-supernatural-thriller that even with a standard ending is well worth at least one viewing as there are plenty of genuine scare moments. It… well… delivers… on almost every level even for those who aren’t fans of the subgenre.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.75/5
This release comes with a thin slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital Copy.
Audio Commentary – Writer/Director Scott Derrickson sits down for a formal but still interesting and informative track taking viewers through on certain shots, working with the actors and other tidbits. It’s a fine track though including another participant, even someone like Bruckheimer, would’ve been beneficial.
Illuminating Evil (13:36; HD) – This behind-the-scenes featurette examines the origins of the Deliver Us From Evil and features interviews with the cast and crew including producer Jerry Bruckheimer, actor Eric Bana and the real Ralph Sarchie.
Deliver Us from Demons (8:25; HD) examines the devlish characters featured in the film, where the designs came from and the make-up effects work. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
The Two Sergeants (8:05; HD) further looks at the real Sarchie and the portrayal by Bana and the fictional work used in the film (such as the fact Sarchie never murdered anyone). ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
The Demon Detective (9:37; HD) – Here Sarchie explains his work as a demonologist. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Previews – No Good Deed, The Equalizer, The Remaining, Predestination, Grace: The Possession (red band), The Calling
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Deliver Us From Evil gets possessed on Blu-ray (just go with it) presented with a 1080p high-definition transfer and shown in its original 2.40 theatrical aspect ratio. As one would expect, this is one dark looking film where even the daylight scenes don’t quite shine through. Still, details are pretty darn good, there were no noticeable/obvious artifacts or other flaws and colors, when there, appear to be well balanced.
AUDIO – 4.75/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track meanwhile is strong and aggressive. First, dialogue levels are nice and clear coming from the center speaker but it’s the lower level parts, such as the rumblings during the possessed scenes, where this lossless track really comes to life to the point where the floor shakes and anyone within your house should be able to feel it. The rear speakers are pretty good used for the score and other ambient noises.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, Deliver Us from Evil is an effective film that keeps one on the edge until the end, even if the finale doesn’t give us anything new in the genre. The cast is well put together and the direction by Scott Derrickson is successful building on his respectable resume following The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister. The Blu-ray released by Sony has a good selection of features while the video and audio transfers are both excellent.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.