Friday, January 6, 2012

The Devil Inside (2012)

Well we have officially embarked upon a new year for cinema. Unfortunately though, we have to begin with the first week of January, a month that is infamous for usually releasing movies that are either made for mindless entertainment or just plain generic to the genre being portrayed. Over the past years, several films have defined that archetype, which include 2011's "Season of the Witch," 2010's "The Book of Eli" and 2009's "Bride Wars." To kick off this new year, we have the exorcism horror film "The Devil Inside."

On October 30, 1989, Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) brutally murders three people in her house during an exorcism that was being performed on her. Involvement arises from the Catholic Church, and she has since been held in a Catholic psychiatric hospital in Rome. Fast forward twenty years to later to 2009, her daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) and a documentary film crew try to find a pastor/exorcist to help Maria. A series of unauthorized exorcisms ensue where just about everything ends up going wrong, and the only piece of evidence is the footage shot by the film crew's cameras.
Overall performances by the cast are surprisingly decent, even though the characters they play are extremely one-note in their personalities. Suzan Cowley, who was surprisingly underutilized since she appeared in a total of only three scenes, manages to deliver convincingly as the possessed mom. Some of her facial expressions might creep you out, but I still ponder why she was the main (and only) focus of the film's poster because of her limited screen time. As the worrisome yet brave daughter, Fernanda Andrade delivers a reserved, quiet performance that breathes a feeling of innocence due to her character being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Furthermore, the unknown actors that portray the pastors who help Isabella hold their own at an okay level, too.

This film is the second movie to be helmed by horror movie writer/director William Brent Bell, and I'm hoping for the best that this is the last production he'll helm in his short career. He uses a scarce amount of jump scares that are ridden of both predictability and cheap effect. It almost seems that he isn't confident enough to raise the stakes in scenes that should be terrifying, and instead sets back upon short set pieces that could be creepy but then cuts away to an interview scene like the last sequence never even happened. In between all of the scenes that are meant to be scary, Bell conducts poor pacing for scenes involving exposition that stretch far past the length that they should run for.
The biggest flaw of this movie though, is the beyond abrupt ending which has an absolute shot at already finishing the year as the worst ending to a film released during this 2012, but also as one of the worst endings ever witnessed in cinema history. The final sequence of the film actually builds up potential to a final act that could have been very intense, edge of your seat scares. Instead, the director builds up everything that you witness happen up until that point and ends up throwing it away with an ending that leaves you wanting so much more than you had gotten up until that point. How in the world did this "conclusion" pass through not only both the editing room, but also get the studio's stamp of approval? Ever since witnessing the ending to this film, I have had a theory playing in the back of my mind that the filmmakers didn't have a strong enough idea on how to end the film in a coherent manner, so they decided to settle upon a device that would end it in the quickest way.

I'm already beginning to pray that we get at least 1 to 2 good movies during the month of January, because "The Devil Inside" surely isn't going to assist to that cause. While the cast does deliver performances on a decent scale, they definitely can't make up for the generic material they're working with. However that horrendously lazy ending has had such a huge impact on me, that it has made me demote my final rating down a full letter grade. Please save your ten bucks and avoid "The Devil Inside" at all costs, because that ending is most likely bound to make you want a refund for the poor pay-off you receive in the end.

Final Grade: D

Review of "The Devil Inside" on Youtube


  1. Nice review. This looks like a total stinker. I can definitely see how the ending could be the worst part of the whole. (P.S. - I noticed a typo in the second sentence of the fourth paragraph. Other than that, this review is pretty flawless!)

  2. Terrific work. I knew this movie would be a pile of shit...

  3. Excellent review! I have little to no expectations for movies until February, so I was not surprised when you gave this the rating you did. Anyway, I'm not a big fan of horror films so I wouldn't be seeing it, good or not.

  4. I agree with everything here dude and great review.Check out mine when you have the time :)

  5. looks utter crap, how did this make so much in its opening week? great review