Demonic possession films have become quite a popular trend in modern horror over the past few years. A barrage of unnecessary Exorcist sequels, as well as a couple of hit and miss exorcism movies that have been released in the past few years. Among those, was The Last Exorcism, a surprisingly critical success, but one that failed quite epically with audiences, holding a 32% approval rating as opposed to a 73% from critics. I’m in the minority of viewers who actually loved the movie, taking its time to set up realistic characters that are actually interesting. The film itself built up nicely and ended with a twist I would have never really expected.
Enough about films I’d rather be watching, though, let’s get on to the piece of crap that disappointed me last night. The name of the film is The Devil Inside, one of the many demon flicks to come out in the past few years, and definitely not the last. It’s written and directed by William Brent Bell and Matthew Peterman, the two men behind Stay Alive, which I can fully admit is a guilty pleasure of mine. The film follows a young woman, Isabella Rossi, who decides to make a film regarding her mother, Maria. She killed three people during her own exorcism in 1989, and has been locked up in a mental institution in Rome ever since.
With her cameraman, Michael, in tow, she heads to Italy to figure out what the hell is going on. She meets two young exorcists, Ben (Simon Quarterman) and David (Evan Helmuth), who agree to help her as much as they can to solve the mystery of her mother’s condition. Going against every law that the church requires them to abide by, they perform an “introductory exorcism” on a girl who’s been possessed and never treated properly. Surprisingly, they successful remove the demon from her, which gives them both the confidence and the assurance to go ahead and try to help Maria. Maria’s exorcism, though, is much more difficult. Possessed by four demons, Maria isn’t just possessed in the way we know, she’s been taken over completely by these entities.
The Devil Inside is honestly the worst of all of the bad exorcism films in recent memory, but it’s also had the most marketing. With frightening TV spots popping up on every channel, and billboards as far as the eye can see, it’s amazing that such a low-budget, and not to mention amateur, production could get such acclaim. Starring no name actors who really cannot act for the life of them, Bell and Peterman decide to throw in horribly written dialogue, as well as some inspired but ultimately failed shaky-cam work.
The film’s opening scene is an equally pleasing and refreshingly violent sequence, displaying the bloody remains of the three bodies that Maria brutally massacred during her exorcism. If anything, it’s a promise that The Devil Inside is not your ordinary demonic possession film. Well, they lied shamelessly. The remaining hour and 10 minutes of the film is a brutally slow, scare-less, and rather illogical attempt to make exorcism scientific, religious, and scary all at the same time. Then, when things finally start to get exciting, The Devil Inside decides it’s worn out its welcome, and ends with one of the worst and most abrupt endings I’ve ever seen.
I can say that I got quite a few great laughs from this movie, and if you’re looking for a comedy, then The Devil Inside is honestly as funny as movies like Bridesmaids and Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil. But, if you’re looking for a scary demon movie that won’t let you sleep at night, this is most definitely not where you want to be. I mean, for a film that claims to be real, including a cast list during the credits probably isn’t a good idea.