Posts Tagged ‘the devil inside’

I know, I know — I should’ve known better, I really should have. But last January brought us a dead-of-winter studio- dump-off exorcism flick(The Rite) that (admittedly modestly) transcended expectations, so I thought hell, why not?

My mistake. Director/Co-Writer William Brent Bell’s The Devil Inside, supposedly — ahem! — “inspired by true events” (a term so vague as to be less than meaningless — given that our story here revolves around a young woman whose mother killed three people while she was being exorcised and said daughter’s journey to Rome to “reconnect” (or something) with mom after not seeing her for many years I’m thinking the only “true event” that needs to have occurred for this film to “base” itself on is that some girl at some point in time had a mom who underwent an exorcism) had damn well better end up being one of the worst films of 2012 or else we’re in for a very bad, and very long, year.

Eternal optimist (ha!) that I am, tough, I’ll start off by highlighting some of the film’s few good points : the SPFX aren’t too bad, especially the body-contortion stuff. The acting is passable enough. Romania makes a passable stand-in-on-the-cheap for the Vatican. And that’s about it.

Now for the more lengthy list of flaws, and please bear with me here! First off, the film’s use of  “handheld” or “DIY” -style camerawork is uninspired throughout, and downright implausible in many instances, such as on the numerous occasions where the long-suffering “documentarian” of the piece, Michael (Ionut Grama), is actually visible in-shot with his fucking camera? Huh? Who exactly is doing the filming in these sequences, then? Never mind, because that’s nothing compared to the gaping plot holes on offer here,so — spoiler alert! — here’s a rundown of just some of the more glaring ones for your edification —

The woman whose exorcism is at the heart of the story here, one Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) is sentenced to spend the rest of her life in the bughouse by the courts here in the good ol’ US of A, and is then — get this — transferred to a mental hospital in Rome. Did you know our legal system worked that way? I sure didn’t.

Next up, we’ve got the pesky little backstory provided by one of the priests performing secret, unauthorized-by-the-Vatican exorcisms (the other half of the duo being Father David, played by Evan Helmuth, who fulfills the stereotypical doomed-priest-in-an-Exorcist-knock-off’s role) that our story’s heroine, Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) latches onto in her quest to get some help for her mom. This guy, Father Ben (Simon Quarterman), lays down the following whoppers in the space of just a few sentences : his father was a Catholic priest who performed exorcisms (huh? I didn’t think they were allowed to have families), dad started taking him along with him to these exorcisms when he was just 13 years old (double huh? are exorcists now participating in bring-your-kid-to-work day?), and by age 17 he was already performing exorcisms on his own (triple huh? he couldn’t have even been ordained as a priest by that age).

If that’s still not enough for you, how about the scene where the two priests, Isabella, and Michael all go in to see possessed-Mom and are somehow allowed to bring in all their own heart-rate-monitoring and other medical equipment even though the Holy See has expressly forbidden this ragtag crew from doing any of this shit?  Okay, fair enough, the movie explains that the facility mommie dearest is kept in isn’t technically within Vatican walls, but no hospital, mental or physical, is going to allow you to wheel all that stuff in when you’re visiting a patient.

Suspension of disbelief is one thing, but The Devil Inside actually requires the audience to have no capacity to think whatsoever in order for it to be taken even remotely seriously. The fact that it’s never even remotely scary certainly doesn’t help matters much either, but let’s not kid ourselves, that’s not even much of an expectation these days, so we won’t hold that against it — not that we really even need to. This is an absurd, abominably lousy flick in pretty much any and every other respect, and who knows? Maybe it really will, finally, be the last nail in the coffin for the whole “handheld-horror” subgenre. Although that assumption has certainly been made way too many times to count at this point.