REVIEW — “Deliver Us From Evil”
It’s not often we get supernatural thrillers coming out in the middle of the summer, especially good ones. “Deliver Us From Evil” ends up being a “pleasant” surprise.
The mostly fictional story is stitched together from various segments of real Life NYPD Sergeant Ralph Sarchie’s book documenting his paranormal experiences. Though the book is fascinating it lacks the story arc required in a cohesive film. Instead Writer/Director Scott Derrickson crafts a tale that begins in Iraq and then links together a series of mysterious crimes in NYC four years later. Known for both “Sinister” and “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”, Derrickson puts his supernatural talent to good use once again creating a hellish atmosphere that is almost suffocating at times. Filmed almost entirely using a dark, dingy palette, he creates an oppressive sense of dread.
Eric Bana plays Sarchie, and Joel McHale plays his (fictional) adrenaline-junkie partner “Butler.” When they encounter events that cannot be rationally explained, they cross paths with the unorthodox pastor Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez) Together they fight this otherworldly darkness that is infecting the city. Instead of being your standard “Creepy Ghost Movie”, it plays more like a detective drama with demonic elements. There is a surprisingly strong dynamic between Bana and McHale, so much so that it would be an entertaining film even without the supernatural element.
Even though the script sometimes stumbles on a handful of worn cliches, there’s enough tension and creepiness to help us overlook them. The battle between Good and Evil is always fascinating, especially when it involved both the mortal and immortal plane. But be warned, this movie is quite dark and features a lot of disturbing imagery. (One horrifying scene involving flies, is true, taken directly from the book.)
4 out of 5 Stars