Day #87: Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

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Deliver Us From Evil (2014) IMDB

Synopsis:
[From IMDB:]New York police officer Ralph Sarchie investigates a series of crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest, schooled in the rites of exorcism, to combat the possessions that are terrorizing their city.

My take:

First, the positives:

Visually, this movie is great. It has a dark, gritty feel to it that suits the tone of the movie perfectly – and this, combined with the camerawork, does the vast majority of the work of pulling everything together. I can’t think of a single moment of this movie that I didn’t like the look of.

Along similar lines, the physical special effects looked great. From the blood (of which there is a lot) right up to the more complex effects, you can tell that a lot of work was put into making sure that everything not only looked good, but was believable. The same can’t quite be said for the CGI – which was always obviously CGI – but, eh, I’ve seen worse; and it wasn’t too distracting, or even used that often. So, my quibbles are minor.

The acting? Well. Eric Bana was Eric Bana, Olivia Munn was Olivia Munn, and Joel McHale was Joel McHale, despite the fact that they were trying to skate the line between him being the smart talking sidekick while having him not be his character from Community. What you think of their acting will largely depend on what you think of their acting at all times; which means I didn’t like Eric (destroyer of the Hulk) Bana, I thought that Olivia Munn was okay but pretty underutilised, and I was just…confused by John McHale.

Édgar Ramírez was fine. I kept finding myself staring at his lips. Is that normal? I feel like it is.

The audio was a bit of a mixed bag. In terms of scoring, I thought it worked really well – particularly with the way that it integrated music into certain scenes, not just as something we as the audience could hear, but as something that had a bearing on what was happening on the screen. However, when it came to the audio stuff that was meant to be scary? Well, it sometimes came across as a bit cheesy, or repetitive. I mean, as soon as you hear a jack-in-the-box, you know what’s going to happen, right? Yeah.

This last point ties into my main issue with Deliver Us From Evil: despite the demonic possession stuff, I don’t think it was really a horror movie. Oh, it had jump scares and unexplainable events, etc., etc., but they largely seemed to be something that was slotted in because it was necessary to the story. Otherwise, this movie read as ‘gritty cop/thriller movie’ to me. And, hey, as a gritty cop/thriller movie I think it was actually pretty good. I think I would have enjoyed that movie more. Instead, we were left with a movie that looks great, but just feels flat.

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