Mar 14 2012 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge
The Devil Inside
THE Devil Inside tells the story of Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade) and her efforts to find out what happened to her mother Maria (Suzan Crowley).
Maria allegedly murdered three people during her own exorcism so Isabella travels to Italy and joins priests Father Rawlings (Simon Quarterman) and Father Keane (Evan Helmuth) in an unauthorised exorcism to discover the truth.
The Devil Inside is the latest installment in the ‘found footage’ genre.
Despite some savage reviews the film topped the U.S box office in January with an impressive $34.5 million opening weekend takings.
It’s not all that bad but can’t hold a candle, or a bottle of holy water, to the similarly themed The Last Exorcism or the Paranormal Activity series’ ‘home video’ scares, never mind possession genre classic and original inspiration The Exorcist.
The film starts with video of an eighties-set crime scene walk-through, ala The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, and proceeds to present itself, for the first 20 minutes at least, as a documentary.
There are home videos, news reels and talking heads but none of them convince you that what you’re watching is in any way feasible.
William Brent Bell is on directing duties and co-wrote the script with Matthew Peterman.
The pair’s last collaboration was 2006’s horrible video game horror Stay Alive and they prove once again that they’re no creative geniuses.
Bell’s camerawork is so jumpy you may have to take a travel sickness tablet before you go into the cinema.
He decides to use a cast of unknowns with little big screen experience and the only value this has is that any of them could perish because the performances are average throughout; Andrade is especially poor.
A lot of the plot is pretty silly but one sequence really takes the biscuit.
Camera access to a Vatican City ‘exorcist school’ is bad enough (would the Vatican really allow this?) but a priest there quickly goes into a verbal spiel that spells out events we’ll see later on. Like we couldn’t work it out for ourselves.
Shocks do come our way, though. They are mainly jump scares which Bell chooses to film in dark locations and exorcism film staples cracking, bending limbs and foul mouthed spurts of dialogue are present and correct.
The first meeting between Isabella and Maria in a mental hospital is quite unsettling and the image of a priest trying to drown a baby at a baptism is a horrific eye-opener.
And the ending? Oh my, the ending. Just when things get going, albeit in an off the tracks, crazy way, to set up a ferocious finale the movie just... ends.
It’s so abrupt, I sat for about a minute of the credits to see if anything else was to come. Nope.
Horror fans may lap up small parts of scenes here and there, and it’ll probably play well with the Friday/Saturday night screaming teen crowd, but The Devil Inside possesses a painful lack of subtlety, originality and characters we give two hoots about.
Rating - 5 out of 10.