Movie Review: The Devil Inside
Prinz Lee wrote this review 4 years and 9 months ago
When exiting the theater back in late summer of 2010, after screening ‘The Last Exorcism,’ I knew in my heart, the demonic-possession-based genre would not end. Many speculated due to the film’s title, this was it, considering Hollywood would never be able to replicate the original psychological gem released back during Christmas week, 1973. However, there’s a lingering passion, intrigue and taboo-like interest among supernatural existences beyond any of our comprehension, and complexities when coexisting with a force we can’t understand, see or even know if it actually exists.
The art of possession and haunting have been used in films throughout movie-making history. The only beef I have with horror flicks today is that that they do not compare to what was once written in form of emotional and psychological tapping! Back in the day with films like ‘The Oman,’ ‘The Amityville Horror,’ ‘The Shining,’ ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ and ‘The Exorcist’ were created to really sweep you off your mental state, place in you a vortex which seemed a bit overwhelming, and resonating so much within your system, films like that lasted inside you for days! Now, it’s all about mediocre writing, relying on hot women, gore and computer generated images which becomes a bit overkill. I’m a huge fan of less-is-more, and the less we see, and more our brains are manipulated, the scarier a true horror and/or thriller can be. It’s human nature to fear what we can’t see or understand, but that magic is gone.
It doesn’t mean I don’t find myself interested in watching what’s out nowadays, as there are some films that can stand on their own and claim some fear-factor-ground, like ‘Insidious’ for example, therefore, there is hope that someone, somewhere out there, can piece together a cool fright flick!
Well, it’s 2012, and setting off the year’s horror genre is ‘The Devil Inside.’ Here’s a film I’ve been reading up on for a couple of months and found myself drawn to it. I, for one, enjoyed its trailer, and being drawn to films with gritty cinematography and rusty tones, it piqued my interest and could not wait to screen it.
The film starts off in 1989 with emergency responders receiving a 9-1-1 call from Maria Rossi confessing that she had brutally killed three people. 20 years later, her daughter Isabella seeks to understand the truth about what happened that night. She travels to the Centrino Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Italy where her mother has been locked away to determine if her mother is mentally ill or demonically possessed. When she recruits two young exorcists to cure her mom using unconventional methods combining both science and religion, they come face-to-face with pure evil in the form of four powerful demons possessing Maria.
Well, considering it’s a horror, I won’t be mean or too critical on the fact that there’s absolutely ZERO character development. The story is as easy to follow as its characters. You have the somewhat possessed mother, a daughter seeking answers and two exorcists. Everything was fast, and as far as a climactic type of feeling, well, let’s just say it didn’t feel like much of an ending.
However, although pacing may bypass on development at all cost, we’re not really here to give a crap about the characters or an incomprehensible plot, right? F it! We just want to see strange, weird, indescribable, disturbing possessed people unleash demonic fury and scare us a bit! So, to be fair, I have good news, humanoids! Director Brent Bell does a decent job with F/X and camera to give us just that. Unlike any other exorcism-based film post the original, the possessed person (mother) felt authentic and brought to life right before our eyes. There were other exorcisms done throughout the film, and those turned out pretty cool as well.
But that doesn’t mean it didn’t suffer a bit when it came to talent, and that’s because I wasn’t taken too much by the main antagonist’s acting. Fernanda Andrade had a dull, subtle, tone from start to finish. It didn’t even seem like she was the daughter of Maria due to her unenthusiastic performance. In fact, it was the two exorcists who snatched the spotlight, because they actually made me and/or us believe that there’s danger and evil lurking around us. Therefore, kudos to those two!
The entire film consists of first person views, interviews and multiple camera angles, which all turned out ok, because it presents the audience with somewhat of a suspenseful atmosphere. We catch some pretty disturbing behavior and screams, which is awesome if you want to get that eerie feeling in the theater. I was on the edge of my “sanity” for the most part anticipating what’s going to happen next. Personally, nothing really got me jumping, except for a scene involving a dog, which got me to flinch. I’m not going to sit here and lie about nothing scaring me, because the original left a pretty disturbing feeling when I first watched it. It encompassed just about every single component which presented complexities between good vs. evil. ‘The Devil Inside’ isn’t that disturbing, but it's pretty cool, and to a degree didn’t try to play itself out to be more than what it was supposed to be, and although I didn’t love it, I can’t say I hated it either. Could this be a “new franchise?” I don’t know. I don’t think it had that kind of swagger. I may be wrong, but I know this will inspire more demonic-based fright flicks! So get ready!