Deliver us from Evil is a suspense movie currently performing at number 4 at the box office. It’s a unique crime thriller with a twist and is an enjoyable, if occasionally plodding watch.
The premise is this. New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), who of course has a bucket load of personal problems, is investigating a series of strange crimes. When those crimes take on a religious theme, he joins forces with an unconventional priest (Edgar Ramirez), who knows his way around an exorcism. Together, the two combat demon possessions that are terrorizing the city.
The movie plays a bit like a one hour procedural crime drama. It is based on Ralph Sarchie’s own real life cases, though I’m pretty sure they had little to do with demon possessions and more to do with people being psychos.
The movie starts excitingly suspenseful, though it follows the standard formula. The cop is a cynic who doesn’t believe in demons. The priest is desperate to convince him before it’s too late. When he eventually does, the movie fizzles out and starts to drag.
You’d figure the action would pick up once the two decide demons are real and they need to fight them, but instead it slows down significantly. A twist to put Sarchie’s family in jeopardy feels rather forced and convoluted. It feels like the writer had a lot of time to write the first half of the movie, then got bored and phoned in the rest when it should have gotten better.
The actors do a commendable job and the priest with the checkered past is a great twist on an old school character. Bana does cynical and menacing like he was born for the part and Ramirez’ character is so well done you’d think he was real rather than an add-on character designed to flesh out the script.
Adding the Doors as the soundtrack was a stroke of genius, as this movie had that Doors dark and violent atmosphere that is underlined by the soundtrack perfectly. They really couldn’t have chosen a better score.
The movie goes a bit too heavy on secondary plot lines in an attempt to creep us out, and there it gets confusing instead. There’s one part with a dead pedophile that I really didn’t get at all. I mean, yes, I know pedophiles are evil, but what does that have to do with demonic possession? Comments on PTSD (because the movie involves a lot of troops returning from Iraq) feel out of place as well.
The movie could have gone in an interesting direction, but instead, it relied on standard plot points for both the crime drama and exorcism genre, and feels like two clichés sewn together. The saving grace is the addition of a hard drinking, womanizing priest who is brought to life by Edgar Ramirez.
The movie is a watchable effort. It has some good scares and some good twists, but halfway through it plods a bit and struggles to regain its momentum. Watch official trailer below: