Review: Deliver Us from Evil is all too familiar

Scott Derrickson’s Deliver Us from Evil blends a cop drama with that of a tale of possession and how demons will latch onto the souls of the innocent and terrorize everyone around them. It makes for a haunting atmosphere as the dirty work of the NYPD is scary enough as it is, but combining that life with the demonic is a fantastic canvas for Derrickson to paint his skin-crawling tale. The film follows NY police officer Ralph Sarchie who joins forces with a priest, schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to rid the city of demonic possession. The heart of the film beats around those that are possessed and eventually leads to the film’s big exorcism scene, but does Derrickson himself deliver the goods? Unfortunately, not quite.

The biggest strength in Deliver Us from Evil is the way that it moves throughout the narrative at a pretty quick pace, bouncing from one creepy scene to the next. It never lets you settle in and get comfortable as there’s always a flicker of the light or scratching against the wall to grab your attention as you wait to see what lies in the darkness. The fast pacing of the film, however, comes at a price because a lot of the events that transpire almost feel a little too convenient, like they were trying to put the puzzle pieces together too fast. So while you’re most likely not going to be bored when you sit down to watch Deliver Us from Evil, you might feel a little rushed as the story unfolds.

I will say though that it’s nice to actually take a seat in the theater and watch an adult horror flick for once that isn’t afraid to toss a little bit of the red stuff around. There’s not much CGI to be found here and the makeup effects are quite good, especially that of Sean Harris—who plays Santino in the film—as his character’s body is littered with cuts and blood. These are the kind of movies we need more of, it’s just too bad that this one never strays from the path of the familiar. Which brings me to the film’s biggest flaw.

The major problem with a film centered around exorcisms is the simple fact that we’ve just about seen it all already. Breathing new life into a story like this is no easy task, but if you’re going to tell it, at least think outside of the box. While Deliver Us from Evil isn’t exactly a bad movie, the entire film just felt much too safe and familiar. It’s a shame, really, because Derrickson had an amazing chance with this one—it being rated R and all—to create a movie that not only could terrify the audience, but rethink the way we see exorcisms on film. Instead, however, we get a tale surrounded by jump scares and a finale that’s much too safe for its own good.

So despite Derrickson’s greatest efforts, you won’t be finding anything in Deliver Us from Evil that you haven’t seen before. It’s a decent enough flick that will certainly scare some along the way, but for those of you seeking out a horror film that swings for those proverbial fences and tries to bring something new to the genre, well you might want to look elsewhere.


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17 thoughts on “Review: Deliver Us from Evil is all too familiar

  1. Full on agreed. It disappointed me even more though, I’d prob give it a 2.5 tops. Lol. I felt there was absolutely no drama b/c I couldn’t believe Bana and Munn together. Their relationship was horrid, even though I like Eric Bana quite a bit. I did think Derrickson effectively created a tense and creepy as hell atmosphere, that I did appreciate. But most of it was a big letdown for me. . a review should be up somewhat shortly.

    Good stuff Ryan

    1. Thanks, man! Sounds like we are in total agreement over this one. I didn’t think it was a bad movie, but it’s certainly not as good as it should have been. Looking forward to your review!

    1. Yea, unfortunately it did disappoint me. I was expecting so much more from it I guess. There’s some very cool elements to it, just none of it feels new. Definitely check it out though and see what you think!

  2. Hey, you caught a new release the weekend it came out and didn’t have to wait for this one until December! lol. I plan to see this one sometime this weekend. I hope I like it better than you, but your review seems to be pretty spot-on. I wish more bloggers were like you and could write reviews without divulging details about the movie. You completely conveyed your thoughts without revealing hardly any plot details; props for that! 🙂 I will revisit this entry after I see it and let you know what I think.

    1. I know, Gary! For once I could actually see a movie I’ve been looking forward to in theaters.

      I hate reading reviews that are 2000 words basically re-writing the film scene for scene. I always felt that reviews should be for the people who haven’t seen the film yet, so what’s the point in spoiling the entire thing for them, you know? Really looking forward to your thoughts on this one man!

  3. It wasnt as dumb as I thought it would be. But I agree with you on the pacing and the liberal gore. Especially the badass compound breaks. Side note- I finally got around to watching Inside/ L’Interior and I totally get why it tops lists. That movies has balls to go after what some people would consider sacred material.

    1. Yea, that bone sticking out of her leg was nuts! Agreed, Inside is a ballsy movie and certainly takes guts to get through. Good stuff! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Okay Ryan, I just saw it. I agree with your assessment – particularly from a horror standpoint; it definitely wasn’t scary horror-wise…but I think it’s a good story and makes for a good drama that happens to contain horror elements. I like the message Scott Derrickson is attempting to get across that is so evident in the final scene.

    I think the reason it doesn’t conjure up more scares is b/c it’s trying to stay as true as it can to the material it’s based on, which is scary in itself, but doesn’t necessarily translate on-screen as an intense horror flick. I’m sure they could have strayed from the source material to add some intensity, etc. but it seems the writers and director didn’t want to go that route, which I can appreciate.

    The creepiest moments of the movie were on the ads, where the owl rolls across the room – and the girl freaks out at the zoo; other than that, nothing was scary. I liked it more as a drama than a horror…and it sounds kind of like you did, too?

    1. Yeah, if you look at it that way—as a drama—it certainly works much better. But for an exorcism film that’s supposed to be horror it just doesn’t hit the mark like I was hoping. It’s not a bad movie, just not what I thought it should have been.

  5. I’m disappointed, I was positive this was going to be a blast (and a scream). Then I started reading one or two mixed reviews, and the fact that there won’t a lot of pre-press screenings (a few, but one review site posted a review early and then was asked by the studio to not post it until the day the movie opened). Ffffffuck. I also heard a cat gets tortured and even though I know it’s only a movie, I cannot stomach even fictional violence towards animals.
    We will rent it for sure, but it’s so goddamned expensive to see a movie these days I have to make sure it’s a good investment. Looking forward to seeing it when it is a rental, but I was hoping it would make me scream my ass off a couple times like Sinister did. When I rent it, it’ll be for the exorcism scene (and for Joel McHale, who I think does drama surprisingly well, loved him as a Fed in “The Informant!”).

    1. It’s definitely worth at least renting because there’s some pretty cool scenes in the film. It just didn’t meet the expectations that I think a lot of people had. Bummer.

  6. If they’d shaves about 30 minutes it would have been a better movie. By the end the only thing I was thinking about was how bad I had to pee.

    A lot of people have compared it to Seven, and I don’t think that’s fair. Still, it just didn’t wow me.

    1. That’s the worst! I hate when I have to piss and there’s only like 20-30 minutes left in the film. Totally ruins the experience haha. Yeah people were saying Seven meets The Exorcist, except it’s not nearly as good as either of those films. Pretty disappointing film, that’s for sure.

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