Once again, this year boasts another excellently produced and directed supernatural-supense-crime drama-horror film. It’s very seldom (except for this year, it seems) that a suspense/horror film receives high praise from many critics and fans. Often, with horror, and related films, the fans thoroughly enjoy them while the critics (like yours truly) poke holes and criticize its glamor of blood, gore, poorly written plots, etc. But, this movie has surprises around every corner and great acting to accompany the plot, cinematography, score, and excellent direction.
At first glance, it looks like just another cliché supernatural horror movie (of course, it doesn’t help that it comes from the same director as Sinister). Certainly, I went expecting that I would be accosted with a horror movie I would regret spending money on; but, to my pleasant surprise, it was remarkable. Even for those in the evangelical or catholic community who may at first glance dismiss this as another cookie-cutter gore-glorification and misrepresentative of the spiritual realm, it is a movie they can enjoy as well. So seldom can a movie actually effectively integrate several genres and be pieced together as perfectly as a puzzle, but this movie proves it’s possible. It’s truly a well executed supernatural-suspense-crime drama-horror film.
The movie is based on the real life events of Ralph Sarchie, a New York cop who meets a Castilian/Hungarian renegade priest, Mendoza, when he is pulled into a case — a case which the priest convinces him, against the officer’s religious beliefs, is demonically related. Together, they work to solve the case and combat the paranormal forces working against them as New York slowly descends into chaos. Sarchie embarks on a journey that will test his physical, mental, and spiritual strength in this roller coaster of a spiritual journey into the darkness where evil is looking for gateways to terrorize anyone it deems a threat.
From the sand hills of Iraq to the bustling and grimy streets of the Bronx, Deliver Us from Evil takes the audience on an unforgettable journey. One of the elements of a film, that I am most drawn to, is the element that is grounded in the very writing of the screenplay–character development. Normally, I do not look to this mashup of genres to provide me with a central character and central antagonist (opposition to the goal) I can either love or love to hate. But this film does a brilliant job at both visually and in-dialog showcasing the internal journey of Sarchie. Even though his conversion to Christianity was a bit rushed, it was interesting to see a man who fell out of love with the Church return in the most unconventional of ways. Not only does he make a personal spiritual journey, but he also makes a personal/interpersonal journey in regards to the relationship with his wife and daughter. In his body language and spoken words, he is a prime example of how true character development can be successfully and effective woven into a horror story.
If this film were to be compared to any others, it would most closely share key elements with Seven, Exorcism of Emily Rose, and the original The Exorcist. It’s by no means a copy cat or is trying to be any other film. It truly stands on its own as a beacon of hope for supernatural-suspense-horror-crime dramas. Whether you are interested in the movie for the crime mystery or a fan of Director Scott Derrickson’s penchant for horror, you will find two hours of enjoyment in this film. The movie is rated R mostly for language and some gore; but is rather tame compared to Sinister. Prepare yourself for an exciting journey into the Summer blockbuster season.