Sunday, 6 May 2012
Review : The Devil Inside (2012)
Time can literally stand still...
Suffering through 'found-footage' fuck-up fest, THE DEVIL INSIDE is like vacationing in the abyss. Its an unending, mindbogglingly shit plummet into Satan's toilet bowl. Fit for consumption by none.
It takes a lot to get my rankle up when it comes to found footage films. It really does. I'm one of the few, ostracized souls in the horror field who actually sees great merit in the movies, (when done right, of course). Hell, the last movie I reviewed was a shaky-cam shocker, THE TROLL HUNTER, and it was deliriously engaging and entertaining. While I sometimes feel like I'll have to rename this place 'THE FUCKING FOUND FOOTAGE HOTEL', I still get a kick from these films. I'm at half mast just thinking about REC 3, I enjoyed the hell out of CLOVERFIELD and I can't bring myself to get on the vitriol wagon for the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY series, either. Its an immersive filming technique when done with panache.
THE DEVIL INSIDE is not done with panache. Nope. Not at all.
The movie opens with some pretty decent TV footage of an exorcism that ended badly for all involved. Three members of the cloth have been brained and are currently finding out whether Jesus exists or not, and the killer, (the gal on whom they were performing the exorcism), is being shipped off to the mental hospital where she can paint the walls with her own feces till the cows come home. So far so good.
We then jump forward to sometime in the Noughties where we meet her somewhat hot daughter, all grown up now and keen to learn what truly happened to her dear old momma back in the day. With a film-maker in tow, she heads off to Rome to get to the bottom of all this, and learn whether her mother was truly possessed when she killed those clowns, or whether shes simply as crazy as a bag of badgers.
I gotta be fair. Its a rather tantalizing premise. The locations are beautiful and the initial theological debates about the existence of God, (and old Nick) point to a film that is at least trying to say something. I mean, who's not at least a little fascinated by the idea of demonic possession? Its a scary concept. A primal fear that taps into the subconscious, whether one is religious, spiritual, or not. Something we can all get our intellectual fucking teeth into. Shame then that the initial fascination the film evokes in the viewer is soon completely squandered as the film plummets to depths of banality and ineptitude that I've rarely come across on film at all, ever. Its that bad.
I'm not gonna waste too much time on this dick-fest, so I'll cut to the chase.
THE DEVIL INSIDE is hopelessly banal, mind crushingly boring cinema that blatantly rips off far better works. THE EXORCIST, THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, (great, great film on the subject!), FALLEN and THE LAST EXORCISM are all shamelessly pilfered from, and thrown together in a melting pot that manages to neuter all the chills and base spiritual fears those films effectively evoked, (okay, well, not FALLEN...)
It doesn't take a fucking genius to work out how this godawful mess garnered a cinematic release. The producers behind the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY series clearly desired a low expenditure, high profit supernatural handheld hit that could recapture PA's lightning in a bottle. They came across this shit-pile, and (possible without even viewing the damn thing). decided to throw it out to the poor bastard masses with a nice shiny, utterly misleading trailer, showing audience reactions to this 'terrifying experience', (no one could possibly be scared by this fucking film. Its unthinkable!), and sat back and waited for the sweet sweet dollars to come rolling in. From what I gather, it worked.
This sort of godless bullshit is whats bringing horror to its knees in the mainstream. Think of how many truly worthy genre films could have been delivered to the mainstream public this year, and the studios give them this!!?? If this was ones first foray into our beloved genre, they wouldn't be popping round for fucking tea again anytime soon. Its not merely an inept piece of film, its an insulting one.
It takes around 5 weeks, (of 'inside your head'- time), before we get to see any sort of exorcism, and when we do, its laughably stupid, ill-conceived and flat. Up till this point, we've been hanging out with the hot chick and a coupe of renegade priests who perform exorcisms behind the Vatican's back, and have the magical ability to say and do absolutely nothing of interest for the whole fucking duration. At least the hot chick is hot. These two are so poorly written, ( can't blame the actors too much, as no one could read this shit aloud and sound halfway human), that all time spent int their company is rendered meaningless. As for the hot girl, she gets to watch her mommy writhe, spit and snarl demonically, and not once does she look like she even remotely gives a good shit. What the hell is she doing traipsing to Rome if she really couldn't give two fucks what the outcome of her investigation is?! The old gal playing Devil-Mom doesn't fare much better. Shes about as threatening as a fucking Care Bear. Her demonic behavior does happen to be the films only saving grace though, as its among the funniest shit to hit screens in a long damn time. Some of her 'disturbing' dialogue is so funny I almost found myself enjoying the movie as a farce. Then of course, I had my moment of clarity and remembered I'm not a fucking idiot. Anyway, the main exorcism in this film lasts around four or five minutes, and that's nowhere near enough time to eradicate the sour taste left in your mouth by the clergymen, (sour taste....clergymen....get it?).
Any twist in the tale is revealed in the first ten minutes in a crushingly obvious seminar scene, the only blood 'n' guts we see are three 'after-the-fact' bodies, and one bullet-to-the-head-shot. The treatise on possession and demonic entities is the sort of shit you'd expect to hear in a Scooby-Doo episode, and to top it all off and shit all over this piss-cake, there's even a decidedly dodgy and none-too-subtle hint of a creepy pro-life agenda going on behind the scenes. The film is a bag of fuck.
By the time you reach the end, (if your strong/stupid enough to make it there), you'll be wishing for a quick death. Luckily, the film finally does something right and ups and ends out of the fucking blue. No point, no thrills, no refund. But at least the damn things finished and you can go home, re-watch THE EXORCIST and forget that you actually payed good money to be mind-raped while lining the pockets of a money-grabbing major studio.
Fuck this movie.
1 Salty Priest out of 10