Tuesday, March 6, 2012
The Devil Inside ½
Cast: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth
Ionut Grama, Suzan Crowley
If by any chance you hadn't had enough of the "found footage", "mock documentary" style of horror movie, here comes the one that should hopefully end it for good. The Devil Inside might just be the most preposterous entry in a filmmaking technique that peaked, and should've ended, with the superbly done The Blair Witch Project.
This one focuses on that oh-so-tired mean of scaring audiences: the exorcism and sets the first part of its story in the 80s where a woman (Crowley) murders three clergy members who were performing an exorcism on her. The Catholic church intervenes, without acknowledging the truth of what happened, and has the woman moved to Rome (as if an American citizen would really be moved to a foreign country just because...) where she remains hospitalized for twenty years, until her daughter Isabella (Andrade) packs her bags and goes to Europe, accompanied by a camera guy (Grama) who's making a movie about her case.
In Rome, Isabella realizes her mom might be possessed by demons after all and with the help of two new age-y priests (Quarterman and Helmuth) tries to rid her of them.
As with the Paranormal Activity movies, the only real appeal in this one is figuring out how they will use special effects without messing up the DIY aesthetics. Smart visuals of course, might be the lowest priority behind The Devil Inside which relies on tired stereotypes about the Catholic church, exorcisms and horror.
There is not a single moment in the movie that can be deemed scary, unless you count the whole experience of watching this instead of reading a book or having a good meal as timely reminders of mortality and wasting one's time.
There is one scene where Grama's character sits in front of the camera during a confessional moment, there he expresses his disgust with the way in which the demons and other characters have no regard for the filmmaker's duty. For one second the film seems like it might try and explore the harrowing experience of shooting something, an angle that would've been fascinating in this sub-genre that all but takes the camera for granted (have you noticed that nobody in these movies ever drops or leaves behind the camera?) but before you can say "the power of Christ compels you", it's back to its old, cheap trickery.
The Devil Inside for all that matters isn't even a complete movie as it reaches a rushed, halfway there climax that leaves the plot incomplete...Not that anyone would want to spend more time in its company any way.