There may not be anything scarier than spending an exaggerated amount of time with the family throughout the extended Thanksgiving weekend, but your next best bet for entertainment with a dash of horror is Deliver Us From Evil.
Based on real-life NYPD Sergeant Ralph Sarchie, Director Scott Derrickson weaves an interesting tale involving good vs. evil in a great paranormal-psychological thriller.
Untangling the overall plot takes a good amount of time, but it’s absolutely worth the wait. There’s a primary evil spreading throughout the Bronx via a mysterious combination of Latin phrases and Persian pictographs. These phrases, when seen by weak-spirited individuals, seem to be a portal for the entity to enter into the real world and create havoc.
The only person to guide Sergeant Sarchie on this paranormal adventure is a Castilian priest, Father Mendoza (played by Edgar Ramirez). Mendoza warns him of a demonic presence, which Sarchie (expertly troubled by Eric Bana) has begun to sense with his extraordinary “radar.” Warned whenever evil is nearby, Sarge has got a tough mission on his hands, with a very limited amount of time.
Rounding out the cast is Joel McHale, who portrays Sarge’s partner. He’s almost unrecognizable as a tough cop who has a few funny lines of dialogue, but he doesn’t joke around all the time. He was a bold choice to portray the dramatic character.
Olivia Munn is the Sergeant’s wife, who feels a little out of place playing the serious housewife. But the most sympathetic character is Ramirez’ mystical priest, who has more than a few transgressions to hide from his past. He was the most enjoyable, of the bunch.
Although there’s never a “gotcha” moment, the movie does keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
I’m always skeptical whenever the phrase “Inspired by actual accounts” appears onscreen and this occasion is no different. Apparently, this storyline was totally conceived by the director and co-writer Paul Harris Boardman and was based on the actual police officer, but never actually happened in real life. That minor detail doesn’t seem to matter very much because it’s a taut story. At the conclusion, the viewer learns a little more about the main character’s real-life occupation and now I’m very excited to find out more about him and his adventures fighting evil with Father Mendoza. Now, THAT’S something I’d like to see (without any embellishments on the truth).
I’ve been a fan of Scott Derrickson for a long time, now, and he hasn’t let me down yet. I’m always interested to see what he comes up with next. And since Marvel announced that he’ll be directing the upcoming Doctor Strange movie, I’m even more excited to discover his upcoming onscreen adventures!
Strength: A great paranormal adventure of good vs. evil.
Weakness: No true horror-movie scares, but lots of psychological terror.
WTF Moment: “We should split up.” Those are ALWAYS some ill-fated last words.
– “We’ll perform the exorcism now.”
– “It always comes down to a choice.”
– “It’s like the whole house is possessed.”
– “Something’s happening to me. Something I don’t understand.”