Paramount // 2012 // 83 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // May 25th, 2012
Evil is as evil does.
On 30 October 1989, Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) killed three people, all of whom were attempting to perform an exorcism on her. After the Catholic Church got involved, Maria was moved to a psychiatric hospital in Rome. Twenty years later, Maria's daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade), who is working on a documentary about exorcisms (coincidence of coincidences!), meets up with two priests (Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth) to watch them perform an exorcism on a woman named Rosalita. Isabella then visits her mother, Maria, in the psychiatric ward and notes that she has carvings all over her arms and speaks in strange accents. An exorcism takes place, with dire consequences nobody could expect, and an ending that will shatter everything the priests and Isabella know about God, the Devil, and demon possessions.
That was all I could say when The Devil Inside concluded its scant but agonizing 75 minute runtime (not including the credits).
WOW. One big, fat, snot-filled, tear-stained, fart-inducing WOW.
Never has a horror movie bored me so much for so long in such a short amount of time. I'm almost at a loss to write this review, because -- to be honest -- I zoned out halfway through. I knew going in The Devil Inside was not well received by critics or audiences (the reviews were scathing), but I'd hoped for some entertainment value, however slight. I could not have expected the magnitude of how poorly constructed and executed this film ended up being. The Devil Inside is so flaccid and so tedious it's hard to believe a major studio thought it was ripe for theatrical release. The truth is this film hardly even justifies being a straight-to-video cheapie. Yes, it's that crappy.
Rarely do I walk away from a film feeling so dismissive, but The Devil Inside is that rare cinematic treat that made everything inside me die just a little bit. The actors (supposedly playing real people) babble on endlessly about exorcisms, what the Vatican says about them, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Already I'm bored after writing just that one sentence, which is exactly how viewers will feel watching the movie. Eventually, we get to an actual exorcism, but it holds no value because we haven't met any characters (much less the victim) we feel any connection to. Since I knew this was a "faux documentary," I was looking for cracks in the acting and characterizations. And cracks I found in spades. All of the dialogue is so stiff and forced it's painfully obvious everyone is trying really, really hard to look like what they're saying is natural, to the point that it makes it all the more obvious they are just actors.
The horror aspects of The Devil Inside are completely tepid. Although the visual effects are sometimes convincing, none of them are scary. By the time the exorcisms rolled around, I felt like I was watching bad actors trying to recapture the magic of The Exorcist, which is the only movie that's showed a demonic possession with any authenticity. The final slap in the face to viewers is how much of a cheat the filmmakers end up using; after the final scene goes dark, we're told to visit a specific website to uncover more of the "ongoing investigation" portrayed in the film. What? Seriously?! You just charged me for the film and now you want me to go online for the ending of the movie??? Talk about total contempt for one's audience.
I can't stress how bad and -- more importantly -- boring The Devil Inside is. As a film, it's inert. As a horror movie, it's a complete travesty. In fact, I'd be willing to sell my soul to Satan himself, to get back those 83 minutes. Sadly, unlike those of you who avoid this movie, I won't get off that easy.
Another in a growing number of Paramount "Best Buy Exclusive" releases, The Devil Inside (Blu-ray) does not look great, but that's kind of the point of these found footage films; intentionally roughed up and worn down, so as to seem hastily assembled and lost to time. The 1.78:1/1080p high definition widescreen image often looks fuzzy, grainy, and just plain humdrum, but we can't fault the studio for the filmmakers' artistic choices. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix works fine within the context of the film, with plenty of bumps, screams, and screeches blaring from the surrounds. And, if you need them, we're given alternate Dolby 5.1 language tracks in French, Spanish, and Portuguese...none of which make the movie any more palatable.
The lone bonus feat is a standard definition digital copy of the film for your portable devices.
Oh So Guilty! One of the worst movies of the year. Avoid at any cost.
Review content copyright © 2012 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Portuguese)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Digital Copy